Katie Visits Her Sponsored Child and Words Fail

On Facebook, Katie Axelson introduced a post on her blog saying, “So I got to visit my sponsored child in El Salvador last week. There really are no words to describe the experience but I managed to blog about it anyway.”

I haven’t had the chance to visit my sponsored child yet. Give me time. It has been less than a year since we began sponsoring. I do want to visit someday soon, but the Compassion trip to India this spring won’t be the time. When I do visit, I’m pretty sure words will fail me like they did Katie. That’s okay. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and since I’m a photographer there will be plenty of picturesque words.

Other than her Facebook post and reading her post, I have never met Katie. Her simple post is eloquent though, and I wanted to share it with my readers, so here it is.

She also made a video.

At the end of the video she mentions a link. Here it is. Please use this link to sponsor so she gets the credit. Not only will you get to sponsor a child, but Katie will receive credit toward additional help for her sponsored child. A classic two-fer.

Thanks for reading, watching and especially sponsoring.

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Kauai by iPhone

I just got back from Kauai last night and am getting ready to work on editing the 600 plus images made with my DSLR. While you are waiting for those images here are a few captured with my iPhone for a teaser. When I saw these at full size I was a little surprised at the quality.  They’re not DSLR quality, but an iPhone does a pretty decent job. Tools for making digital images continue to improve.

So here are the pictures.

Kauai vacation, iPhone style.

Go ahead and click the green button if you would like to buy a print.
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Click on images to view a large version.

The best place to start is at the beginning. This is the view that greeted us down by the pool side bar after we got checked in and unpacked. It was easy to tell this was going to be a very relaxing visit.

Poipu, Kauai, Hawaii

With a three hour time difference it wasn’t too tough to wake up early enough for the amazing island sunrise. Just the right amount of clouds to make for some incredible color at both ends of the day.

Kauai sunrise

Of course, after an incredible sunrise one must have an equally incredible breakfast, complete with a Bloody Mary buffet.

Bloody Mary Buffet

One day we took a drive to the north shore to spend some time in Hanalei.

Hanalei, Kauai, Hawaii

These next two pictures are two versions, color and black and white, of the same image. I walked out to this reef from the beach. The water was only about waste deep but the current was strong and would switch back and forth depending on which direction the waves were rounding the reef. My camera and cell phone were held high and wrapped in double plastic bags as I made my way slowly across to get the DSLR shots.

Reef break

Which version do you like best?

Reef break in black and white

Toward the end of the week we took a sunset dinner cruise along the Na Pali Coast. There are no words to describe the beauty of this place. On my last visit to Kauai, about 10 years ago, my son and I hiked four miles of the eleven mile trail. Not easy. The cruise was much more relaxing, and I think I got to see more of Na Pali from the boat. Next time maybe I’ll do a kayak tour and get even closer.

Na Pali Coast, Kauai

On my last day in Kauai I took a walk to Shipwrecks Beach and out to the point in this photo. A self imposed time limit kept me from continuing on along the Maha’ulepu Trail.

Shipwrecks Beach, Kauai

That’s it for my iPhone pictures from Kauai. Look for images from my DSLR to be posted soon. You can get notified by email if you subscribe to my newsletter. Remember, these pictures are available to purchase here.

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The Wait is Over

Helena Asti had been waiting 18 months for someone to sponsor her.

“My friends have all received their sponsors so my heart feels sad because I don’t yet have a sponsor of my own.”

Watch Helena’s powerful reaction as she finds out a sponsor has chosen her.

Hundreds of children are waiting for a sponsor. You can end their wait. You can give them hope and a future. You can fulfill dreams. Sponsor a child today and end someone’s wait.

Have questions about child sponsorship through Compassion. Ask me, or go to Compassion.com.

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Discomfort Food

805 million people in the world are undernourished

Comfort food. Autumn is here and for many our food thoughts turn to comfort food. Those yummy traditional dishes which remind us of home, family, or friends. Mine is spaghetti and meatballs. That may seem odd, but it reminds me of my childhood and Sundays at Nanny and Pop-Pop’s surrounded by aunts and uncles and later, as the next generation was born, my cousins. These were good times, infrequently recaptured as we have spread out across the country.

Now that I have you thinking about big Italian meals with my big Italian family; comfort food, let me give you a little dose of food meant to discomfort…

“While you were sleeping last night, 30,000 kids died of starvation or diseases related to malnutrition.” – Tony Campolo

This quote really slapped me in the face, and as if it didn’t bring enough discomfort, I looked up these facts about hunger.

Before we started sponsoring a child earlier this year through Compassion International, I never really gave any of this a lot of thought. It’s hard to think about being hungry when you live someplace where food is in such incredible abundance and we are bombarded with the ease of its availability every night on television. It seems to me that there is plenty enough food in this world to feed us all. No one should be going hungry. Thirty thousand kids shouldn’t be starving to death every stinking day. Yet, they are.

So, I have a question. For some it may be a discomforting question.


With so much food so readily available in so much of the world, why is any child, or adult for that matter, going hungry? Why are almost a billion people undernourished?

Part of the answer is us. You and me. We eat more than we need, more than is healthy (there’s irony for you), then turn around and throw away tons of food we can’t eat because our eyes really are bigger than our stomachs. We eat 1500 calorie hamburgers for lunch, because we are told we need to eat like we mean it, with no thought of what we’re doing to our bodies and that one thousand five hundred calories is a full days worth of food.

If the way we eat isn’t enough of a why, how about this? We argue over the politics of food security while children, 30,000 of them apparently, die because we can’t figure out which ones are of the right political, ethnic, or religious, group to benefit from the most basic necessity of life, which we can easily provide. Food security can never be about politics, ethnicity or religion. We have to stop seeing groups. We must begin seeing people, individuals, souls for whom Christ died. And before you play that religion card know this, Christ did not die for Christians. Christ died for people, all of us, each of us as individuals.

That’s the why, at least partially, and simplistically. So, what’s the how? How do we stop hunger when 30,000 children die every day and 805,000,000 people are starving.

Step one – as I said, stop seeing groups. I can’t feed all those people, neither can you. But I can feed one. Or two, or three. Perhaps four. You can do the same. Your neighbor can feed another, and so on. You get the picture. Extreme poverty is stopped, children are fed, clothed, given medical care, receive education, one at a time. So stop trying to change the whole world all at once. The job is too big for you. Focus on one, choose one, or whatever number you can handle. Big change comes in small steps.

Step two – Remember the facts about hunger I linked to earlier in this post? They come from Compassion International, a child advocacy ministry that releases children from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty. It does this through people like me, like you, who are willing to sponsor a child so they can be lifted from poverty and become responsible, fulfilled adults. One sponsor plus one child equals incredible change. Step two is to sponsor a child.

Here’s what happens when you sponsor a child through Compassion.

You change a child’s life – forever. Your support changes every aspect of your sponsored child’s life. Children in Compassion’s program have the opportunity to thrive spiritually, economically, socially and physically. Compassion is committed to helping children in desperate need grow into fulfilled, Christian adults.

When you sponsor a child with Compassion, you help shatter the cycle of poverty. You change the world — one child at a time. Compassion’s long-term holistic approach, along with your encouraging letters, will give your child hope and a new beginning.

Start with one. Save one life. Others already have, and many others will join us, and together we will reach 30,000 and beyond. Together we can defeat extreme poverty. Sponsor a child today.

Sponsor a Child in Jesus Name with Compassion

Images in this post are courtesy of Compassion.com.

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Point Reyes – Drawing Photographers for Years

Point Reyes

It has been called a shipwreck, but I don’t really know. I have also heard that it was simply abandoned. Whatever, the Point Reyes has been a draw for photographers for a very long time. And why not. It may be overdone, but is still a great subject and a fun shoot. I will probably go back and try to get some unique perspective on it.

Venture beyond the little town of Inverness on Tomales Bay in California deeper into the Point Reyes National Seashore and you will find many more photographic opportunities. The most famous, of course, being the Point Reyes Lighthouse.


I descended the steps to the lighthouse to get a closer look, and then made the long 300 plus step climb back up. No I didn’t count the steps. They’re marked.

Along the way to the lighthouse you are likely to see some wildlife. This doe and fawn were hiding out behind the restrooms on the path from the parking lot to the lighthouse overlook.

Doe and Fawn 1

Doe and fawn at Point Reyes Lighthouse

A short day-trip over to the coast yielded some great results. You can read about the lighthouse in this National Park Service article. As for the shipwreck, there are a lot of pictures scattered across the Internet, even a Flickr group, but I haven’t been able to find much other information about it. More and more it seems it is really not so much a wreck as a boat that has been left to rot. Makes a great photo though.

You can see all my Point Reyes images here, and buy prints, in this gallery.


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