A Playground in Tecate

A Playground in Tecate

One of the projects tackled during our November trip to Tecate was the building of a playground structure. The structure was donated and came to Mi Casa in pieces with only pictures for instructions and various pieces of hardware not necessarily matched to anything. The guys did an incredible job of putting it together and attaching it to an existing play structure.

Play structure raw material

Building a play structure

The kids loved it, and believe it or not even a play structure can bring hope and tell kids they matter. They have so little, and that someone from someplace far away would take the time, the energy, the expense, to come and give to them is incredibly affirming. It says you are not alone, you are not forgotten, you matter. The message we give them is, "you matter to us, and you matter to God."


Just look at these kid’s faces and you can see the joy a simple gift can bring.






Of course, there was much more work to be done. There are more pictures here from the November 2014 trip. I plan on going back to Tecate and Mi Casa at least two, possibly three times this year. You can help with the ongoing building project by visiting Casabuilders.org to make a tax-deductible donation. You can also get information about coming on a trip yourself.

Here’s another way you can help. Profits from the sale of standard size paper prints up to 8×12 in the Mi Casa gallery will be donated to CasaBuilders to help continue the ongoing work at Mi Casa Children’s Home. Proceeds from all other print sales on my SmugMug site help fund my future trips.

Either way, you will be helping to bring hope to orphan children in Mexico.

Note: Many of you know I also blog for Compassion International. Just so there is no confusion, Casabuilders and Mi Casa Children’s Home are not associated with Compassion.

Posted in Missions Tagged , , , , , |

Foggy Morning 2

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The fog was thick, really thick, this morning. Not so thick that it slowed anyone down on the road. Thick enough that it should have. So I am inspired to re-post this picture from the archives.

It has been viewed more than a thousand times and continues to be one of my more popular posts. “Foggy morning” also seems to be one of the most used search terms on my site, and the image has been consistently used by English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers to help students understand “fog”.

Tree in the fog on a foggy morning

In an earlier post using this image, I wrote this note.

Soft light on foggy mornings like this one can make for some beautiful images. Before leaving the hills, I used to drive past this tree twice each day. On my way in to work and again on my way home. Most of the time it blended into the scenery and was hardly noticed. On this day the softness and mystery created by the fog made it stand out.

Not every image needs bright light and contrast. Soften things up a bit.

I re-posted this image today because of the fog we have been having lately. It’s just that time of year here in the San Joaquin Valley. Foggy mornings give way to bright, glaring, sometimes sunny, afternoons with fog again settling in through the night and following morning.

Fog. Clear. Repeat.

Quite frankly, I’m getting tired of the dreariness.

You can’t see clearly what’s ahead of you. You might even be wondering if God is with you at all because the fog has been with you for a long time and you’re almost at the brink of abandoning hope.
Read the full post courtesy of Compassion International

I need sunshine.

If you would like a print of this image you can follow this link or click the green button above.

Pray about what you can do to lift the fog for a child in poverty and give them hope by sponsoring through Compassion. Click the banner below, choose a child and begin an unforgettable journey.

Posted in Compassion, Landscape

Weekly Challenge – Poipu Sunrise

I decided to start participating in the weekly challenge at Photo Friday. There won’t be much commentary or a long story to go with these images. After all, this is about presenting an image defining each week’s one-word theme.

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This weeks challenge – Sunrise

Kauai Sunrise

Getting up early is so much easier when on you are on vacation. Especially when you get to see a beautiful Poipu sunrise like this one.

See more images from Kauai, Hawaii.

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Because Kids Deserve Hope

This week I have been reading articles and looking at pictures new friends have posted to their blogs as they enjoy meeting their sponsored kids in the Dominican Republic. They are on a sponsor tour with Compassion International. It is an opportunity to meet the kids they have been sponsoring and to tell them face-to-face how much they are loved and how special they are. It is putting skin on hope. From the accounts I have been reading it works both ways.

The very special blogs I have been reading are Divine in the Daily by Amy Pederson, Focusing Still by Sandra Heska King, and Writing Down the Revelation by Kris Camealy. Visit them, read them. and be moved. You will see just how much sponsorship means, how it changes lives and perspectives, and how it gives hope. Hope that reaches the heart, not only of the sponsored children, but of those who sponsor as well.

Shahana Following these trips did two things for me. First, it made me want to go on a sponsor tour. That will come. I have no idea when, but it is something I definitely want to do someday, and Lord willing, I will. Marcie and I sponsor a 14-year old girl in India. Her name is Shahana, and next month we will celebrate one year of sponsoring her. To mark the occasion, we will be working the Compassion sponsor sign-up table at upcoming His Little Feet concert at our church. It was at last year’s His Little Feet concert that we signed-up to sponsor Shahana.

The other thing following these bloggers did was make me think once again about a recent trip, not related to Compassion, I took to Mexico. It was a mission trip with my church, First Baptist of Stockton, to Tecate, Mexico where we are helping to build Mi Casa Children’s Home, renew lives, and bring hope, in Jesus’ name.

For both these organizations, and for so many more which seek to bring hope through the love of Jesus, it is all about the kids. We adopt, we sponsor, we give, we love, because it’s what we do, in Jesus’ name. The organization through which we reach out is not as important as the reaching out. Each organization is called to do what they do. It is up to each of us to seek the Lord’s direction about which ones to partner with.

Three Amigos

Three of the kids who know they are loved because of the work being done to build Mi Casa Children’s Home in Tecate, Mexico.

Whether you sponsor a child through Compassion or go on mission trips to build orphanages, it is all about the kids. About loving them, giving them hope, and telling them that they matter.

  • Because kids deserve hope.
  • Hope comes when a child knows he or she is loved.
  • Hope is real because someone takes the time to tell them they matter.
  • Hope arrives in a sponsor’s letter.
  • Hope is heard in the words, “you can.”
  • Hope is real and hope is alive .

Here are more faces of hope from the children in Tecate.

Silly Face Three Amigos Girl Boy Boy with a big smile Boy in Green Happy Girls Smile Showing teeth Showing teeth Happy Girl Boy with red hood Cool kid Happy boy

Now it’s your turn to give a child hope. Select the graphic below to sponsor this child or to view other children waiting for someone to give them hope. If you have questions or want to talk further, leave a comment or contact me.

Posted in Compassion Tagged , , , , , , , |

Stop Worrying

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? – Jesus, the Sermon on the Mount; Matthew 6:25-27.


Would you purposely torment yourself? I’m guessing not. So why do you worry? To what end? Has worry ever solved anything? To the contrary, worry is a debilitating malady that depresses us and moves us toward inaction at the time that action is required. Here is a definition I found for worry. “To torment oneself with or suffer from disturbing thoughts; to torment with cares, anxieties, etc.”

To torment oneself. Yeah, I’m not going to do that. My God is bigger than anything I could possible worry over. Trust in God, pray, and as you pray, let go and let God.

I was reminded of God’s care for me, for us, this week while I was out on a walk. Birds, lots of them, were flying all around without a care in the world. I was reminded of the sermon my pastor, Brad Stahl, gave the previous Sunday and thought about Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:25.

Here is some of what Pastor Brad reminded us of:

Worry is a waste of time. Worry never solved anything, never made anything better, never resulted in a good outcome, and never helps us trust in the Lord. It doesn’t because it can’t. Remember the definition; worry torments.

Instead of worrying take action. Do something constructive to address the issue. Do what you can do. One of the things you can do, and must do, is pray. Yes, prayer is doing something, a big something, so pray, and trust God to do what he can do. In a simple phrase, “pray, let go, and let God.”

When it comes right down to it, worry is a faith issue. When we lose faith that God is in control, that he is at work in our lives, and that he cares for us infinitely more than we can fathom, we have nothing left to do but worry. So, keep your faith alive and strong, trust God. Trust to the point that worry ceases to be an option.

Notice I didn’t say that you issues would be solved if you stop worrying and start trusting. The situations don’t always change, the problems don’t magically disappear. What changes is our response. When we release worry we are no longer frozen by fear. As we trust in God, as we pray and renew our faith, we can begin to exercise our faith by taking action. We begin to do what we can do and trust God to do what we cannot do. And as we turn our eyes to Jesus and put our faith and trust in him, the things we need, the solutions we seek, the victory over our circumstances, are seen in a new light, and we see the blessings that sometimes come through the pain. (Matthew 6:33).

Winning the Worry War

Winning the Worry War

Where does worry come from? Why is it so life-consuming? What can we do to defeat it?

The Bible teaches some amazing principles for combating worry.
Join us for this four-part series in January that will be sure to start your 2015 year off right!

For more information e-mail Randy or visit www.fbcstockton.org


Posted in Faith Tagged , , , , , , |