Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Destination Experience Compassion Conference: Day 4

The big day had finally arrived!

After months of planning and 2 full days of driving, we would be spending the whole day at the Global Ministry Center for Compassion International!

On the way to the entrance of the building, this statue was my favorite.

Great reminder, right on the walls of the building!

Even though we were in for a full day, we arrived a little early so we could walk around the building a little bit. On this wall is a huge world map with highlights from each of the 26 countries where Compassion works.

This is the room where we spent most of the day with about 200 other attendees of the conference.

Matthew went up on stage before the room was filled, he looks pretty comfortable up there... :o)

Grant Norsworthy led us in worship to start off the conference

Then Innocent Mucunguzi welcomed us and thanked all of us for our volunteer work with Compassion. He challenged each one of to "sacrifice 5 minutes to write to your sponsored children. Sharing with them is caring."

After Innocent spoke, we were all off on a quick tour of the building. My favorite part was this mock up of a project center. There was a big screen at the front of the room with children singing. There were so many little details in here. I just have to go back so I can spend more time looking around.

Once we arrived back in the conference, we were able to take part in one very special treat!

This is a Skype session with GU930, a child developement center project in Guatemala. Since they are in the same time zone as Colorado Springs, they were able to get up, practice, and be ready for our 11am worship time together. We had a great time singing along with them! (I was really hoping to upload a video, but after waiting way too long, you will have to make do with a picture. Sorry!)

One of the most important things I came away with is that our sponsored children want contact with us. For the kids who receive letters regularly, their self-confidence is higher. Our letters do not release these children from poverty, but our letters give them hope. The little bit of time that we spend writing letters to our kids can produce a big outcome.

This was an amazing day I was able to spend here with my family!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Destination Experience Compassion Conference: Day 3

Today would be another 10 hour day of driving, but today, our final destination would be Colordao Springs! We left Utah early in the morning in order to hopefully make it to a gathering of Compassion advocates that evening.

After hours of driving, we finally made it to the Utah-Colorado border! We still had quite a few hours of driving to do before we would arrive in Colorado Springs. Today we would pass over the Continental Divide at 11,158 feet above sea level! Our little town in California is only 100 feet above sea level!

So we finally make it into Colorado Springs and we can't find the hotel we are to stay at. Panic time! I finally call the hotel and they give us a different physical address than what Travelocity shows for the hotel. So we make it over to the hotel, check in, quickly unload the car, and do a quick freshen up before we head over to the gathering.

It was so nice to see all these Compassion Advocate smiling faces when we arrived!

I had talked with a few of these people before our arrival, but it was so nice to meet them in person! Amy, Heidi and Ian have been a great help to me over this past year in my role as a Compassion Advocate. I was so thankful we had this time to meet up before the conference the next day.

Let me tell you a little bit about the amazing place we met up at for dinner. The name of the place is Glen Eyrie and it is home to The Navigators. Glen Eyrie is a castle which was built by the gentleman that founded Colorado Springs. We didn't really have a chance to tour around the building and the grounds, but we did find a few things to photograph while we were there.

Wouldn't Matthew look good in that suit of armor?

We ate our pizza dinner in the drawing room. I kept feeling underdressed and was waiting for Mr. Darcy to walk in the room at any minute!

Since I was busy talking with many new friends, Kelsey kept busy with my camera.
 Lighting for the drawing room

 Extra lighting on the wall

 View from the drawing room

 Sweet simple table decorations

 A lamp post...are we near Narnia?

One last picture as we left

Time to head back to the hotel for a good night sleep before a big day 4 of our trip!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Destination Experience Compassion Conference: Day 2

Once we decided to make the drive to Colorado Springs for the Experience Compassion Conference, I put on my travel guide hat and started looking at travel routes and stops we could make along the way. By driving the southern route, I found out that we could stop at a couple of national parks! The really great things was that we could break up the trip by stopping at one park on the way to Colorado Springs, then stop at the other park on the way home! I just love when things work out like this!

So after driving for about 10 hours the day before, we made a day trip to Zion National Park.
We had just bought a National Park Pass on our last trip to Yosemite, so basically, we didn't pay anything out of pocket on the trip to visit this park.

This was our first view of the park, after the entrance sign.

I love all the different wild flowers at the different parks.

View up into the canyon from the river.

Our first hike was out to the Emerald Pools, there were hardly any pools and they were not Emerald. Maybe in a different season? Plus the path was closed off at one point and we couldn't hike any further. I am sure this area is really amazing after a big rain storm!

 Kelsey working on her Junior Ranger badge.

 This guy stayed still long enough on the rock to get a good picture.

 Orange is usually not my color, but these flowers were beautiful!

 These purple flowers were interesting.

Blind curve warning. 

 Note card photo maybe?

 Trying out his best Smokey Bear imitation

 Love the contrast of the colors!

We walked out to the beginning of The Narrows hike. Didn't go past the river entrance, maybe on another trip.

 Storm on its way

 Junior Ranger badge requirements completed!

Good night from Utah! Stay tuned for Day 3 highlights!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Destination Experience Compassion Conference: Day 1

After months of planning, we headed out last Wednesday for our week long family vacation! Our desination: Colorado for the Experience Compassion Conference! I registered our family for this one day conference back in April. We looked at possibly flying back, but with airfares as high as they have been, we decided to make it a driving vacation and see some sites along the way.

Since we were looking at least 10 hours of driving this first day, we packed up the car early and hit the road. We brought along breakfast and lunch items to keep expenses down on the trip. So one of our first stops along the way was a rest stop in the Mojave Desert.

 Didn't know the road was actually a California Registered Historical Landmark!

 I love blue sky and cloud pictures!

This is the first time these three have been in Utah, so had to take the traditional state sign picture by the side of the road... :o)

 Our lodging for the first 2 nights. KOA tent cabin in Cedar City, Utah. The kids loved sleeping on the bunks! This ended up being cheaper than staying in a hotel and it was fun having our own little cabin to stay in.

Good night from Utah! Stay tuned for our day 2 destination in my next blog post.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Wordless Book

Last week, when I was teaching VBS, I put together Wordless Books for the kids in my class. These books are an easy way for kids (and adults) to remember the salvation message, then be able to share it with others.

Then I thought, if my VBS kids could share this message with their friends, so could our Compassion kids! After reading this blog post about sponsor letters on the Compassion blog, I knew I wanted to send more than one wordless book to each one of our kids. Matthew and Kelsey helped out by stapling together quite a few books to get ready for our monthly mailing.

While at Target over the weekend, I found some boxes of animal and space fact cards in the dollar spot which will make a nice addition to our mailing this month. What did you send to your kids this month?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Busy, busy, busy!

My kids and I have been helping out at VBS this week.
Photo: Precious... :) http://instagr.am/p/M9C5joD9WW/
Matthew took this picture during prayer time one morning.

Since we have been just a little busy this week, I thought you might enjoy hopping over to Kelsey's blog to see how much fun she is having with our 30 photo and drawing challenge to far.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Little Frugal Creativity

Ever since I completed this Pinterest inspired project, I have been on the lookout for other creative ways I can use containers that I usually just place in the recycling bin.

 My family likes to drink root beer, so every now and then, we have some empty glass bottles.

 Kelsey and I ran a couple of errands today, so we picked up these flowers while we were out.

 Here are the other supplies that I already had at home. Kelsey just cut off some jeans to make long shorts. I thought the jean material would make a great addition to this project!

 First, I cut one jean piece to fit around the bottle and just used tacky glue to attach the ends.

 Then I used pinking shears to cut the strip of red material and cut it to fit around the bottle. Again, I used tacky glue to attach the ends.

 The flowers were trimmed to fit inside the bottle and I added tied a jute bow around the material.

 Once all three bottles were completed, I added them to my mantle.

Since I didn't have enough jean material for all three bottles, this one just has the red star material around it. Sometimes you just make do with what you have and your project will still turn out just great! What fun frugal, creative project have you completed lately?