The ABC's of Compassion - Bite Back

Last week, I posted my first ABC's of Compassion post, sharing about Act for Compassion.

Next up is the letter B.

This week has to do with Jordan Foxworthy and mosquitoes.

Now I know what you are thinking, neither one of those start with the letter B.

Hang on, we will get to that. But first, let me tell you about Jordan Foxworthy.

You probably know who her dad is. Her dad is Jeff Foxworthy. We used to watch the show he hosted, "Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?"

Little did we know when we first began sponsoring with Compassion, that Jordan and her dad had gone on a Compassion trip to Kenya.

You can watch an interview of her and her dad here, because she can explain it much better than I can:

This video is from 9 years ago!

And there is still a big malaria problem in the world, primarily in Africa.

Children are dying every couple of minutes from malaria!

But with the Bite Back program, for just $20, you can provide a life saving net for a family living in areas where malaria is prevalent.

Bite Back program

Want to do something more?

Sign up for a Bite Back kit!

With the Bite Back kit, you can create your own fundraiser to raise awareness and funds to help more children sleep safely at night!

So how are you going to Bite Back?

F-Stop Challenge

Do you know what an f-stop is?

If you are a photographer, I am sure you know what an f-stop does.

For those of you who don't know, basically, f-stop is the aperture setting which controls what is in focus when you capture a photo.

A small number like 1.8 means that only a small area of your photo will be in focus. Smaller numbers are great for shooting portraits and details. This is when you can achieve some cool bokeh1

A large number like 8 and above give you more areas of focus in your photo and work well in landscapes or portraits of large groups of people.

You can find better explanations of f-stop and aperture in many books, photography classes, and online articles. Just google f-stop or aperture if you are curious.

One of my goals earlier this year was to pick up my DSLR on a regular basis and shoot photos.

Well, I have done a terrible job of keeping up with that goal!

This week, I stumbled across a Facebook Live event on the B&H page about 'What to Shoot When There's Nothing to Shoot'. 

You see, the thing is, I am not a professional photographer. I am not even sure I want to be a professional photographer.

It is something I enjoy doing and would love to do it enough to get paid to do it!

So I thought, in order to push myself to pick up my camera on a regular basis, I should give myself some challenges.

This morning, I had my 35mm 1.8 lens on my Nikon and went in my backyard to see what I could shoot.

Here is what I found using f/1.8 only as my aperture setting:

Settings: 1/50 sec at 1.8/f, ISO 100

Settings: 1/50 sec at 1.8/f, ISO 100

Settings: 1/320 sec at f/1.8, ISO 100

Settings: 1/320 sec at f/1.8, ISO 100

Settings: 1/500 sec at f/1.8, ISO 100

Settings: 1/500 sec at f/1.8, ISO 100

Settings: 1/125 sec at f/1.8, ISO 100

Settings: 1/125 sec at f/1.8, ISO 100

Settings: 1/250 sec at f/1.8, ISO 100

Settings: 1/250 sec at f/1.8, ISO 100

Ok, so I didn't just 'find' my 50mm lens in the backyard, but I thought it would make the best first photo for this challenge.

As I walked around my backyard, the only setting I had to change to capture all of these images was the shutter speed. At f/1.8, this setting lets in the most light available because the lens is open at its widest.

So what do you think? Which image is your favorite?

If you are a photographer, have you ever done an f-stop challenge?

I am thinking I should challenge myself each week with a different f-stop. What f-stop should I shoot at next week?



Italy - Day Three

One thing I had to remember on this trip...I was not the only one traveling. In the past, I have been known to over schedule our travel days. Therefore, I couldn't make this trip all about what I wanted to do and every place I wanted to try to see while we were there.

Since we had a pretty full day before, I knew we needed to scale back and take things a bit slower on our second full day in Rome.

Can you even imagine how hard this was for me?!?

Anyway, we planned for a slow morning with an afternoon trip to the Vatican. We purchased tickets ahead of time online and walked to a cafe to get our morning cappuccino and croissant.

Our morning walk across the Tiber River

Our morning walk across the Tiber River

Typical breakfast in Rome

Typical breakfast in Rome

After our late breakfast, we started walking towards the Vatican.

Using our handy dandy Rick Steves' map

Using our handy dandy Rick Steves' map

We were told that it is best to go to the Vatican either very first thing in the morning, or wait until the afternoon. And plan on at least 2-3 hours.

I kind of had a feeling we would be there for more than two to three hours since this was the one thing on my husband's bucket list!

Look at all of these people! And this is in mid February!

Look at all of these people! And this is in mid February!

Once we entered the Vatican Museum, I was so glad we were there during the off season. Can't even imagine what the halls look like during the height of travel season!

We quickly passed by a lot of the statues and found a hall filled with tapestries.

Tapestry in the Vatican Museum
Details about one of the tapestries at the Vatican Museum

The detail on these tapestries was amazing! And look at when these were made, 1524-1531?!?

This one hall was lined with tapestries on both sides. One side depicted different things about the popes, which I really didn't even look at. The other side was all tapestries depicting the life of Jesus. The tapestries were enormous! The one I shared above is over 18 feet wide!

Hall in the Vatican Museum with maps of regions of Italy

The hall with all of the maps of regions of Italy was my favorite. Looking at all the detail, I am not sure how people can only spend two to three hours in this place!

Sign for the Sistine Chapel

We were finally getting closer to the Sistine Chapel!

The School of Athens in the Vatican

One thing I was disappointed about was learning that I would not be able to take any pictures of the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel! So I had to settle for taking photos of other paintings in the museum. The one above is a pretty famous one called The School of Athens by Raphael.

Once you exit the Vatican Museum, you have two choices. Enter St. Peter's Basilica is what most people do.

The other choice is to climb up inside the dome.

What choice do you think we made? Or rather, I made...

The dome inside St. Peter's Basilica

Once we got to this point, we thought this was as high as you go. This view in itself is pretty incredible.

But we quickly learned, there were more stairs to climb.

Stairs inside St. Peter's Basilica Dome

The final set of steps you go up before you are able to walk outside of the dome are a set of tight spirals with a rope for you to use for the 'hand rail'. That was interesting!

There might not be a better view of Rome...

View of Rome from the dome of St. Peter's Basilica

The trip down the stairs was much easier than climbing up all 500 or so steps to the top!

It was starting to get late in the afternoon and we were not sure how much later St. Peter's Basilica would be open, but we wanted to make sure to look around inside before we left here.

Pieta in St. Peter's Basilica

This...almost had me in tears. This is the Pieta by Michelangelo. What was going through Mary's mind as she was holding her beloved son and Savior after his death on the cross?

The outside of St. Peter's Basilica

Overall, I believe we spent over 5 hours here! I am so glad we didn't plan on trying to see too many things on this day.

By now, both of us were starving since we hadn't eaten anything since our cappuccino and croissants much earlier in the day.

We started our walk back across the Tiber River...

Tiber River in Rome

We found a place online to try, but getting there was a bit of a challenge.

Eventually, after walking past the restaurant, we found the place we were looking for!

Cantina E Cucina in Rome Italy

Cantina e Cucina...this place had some great reviews online, and there was a bit of a line. We started chatting with a couple of men who said this was a great place to eat. They live in England and travel to Italy for work. 

Can you even imagine that? Hoping on a plane and being in Italy in just a couple of hours?

Anyway, this is not the place to go if you are looking for a quiet dinner. It was an interesting set up inside with lots of seating for just two people. But the tables were really close together. We ended up chatting with the couples on either side of us. Which was actually kind of fun! 

And for dinner...

Dinner at Cantina e Cucina in Rome

I had pasta and my husband had pizza. Then for dessert...

Tiramisu at Cantina e Cucina in Rome

Tiramisu, again. Might as well compare it with the one I had the night before!

Have you ever been to Rome? If so, what was your favorite part of Rome?

The ABC's of Compassion - Act for Compassion

I am going out on a limb here and starting a 26 post series about Compassion. Each post will have to do with one aspect of Compassion and start with a letter of the alphabet.

None of the posts have been written yet. This is my first one!

I hope to write and post these each week so that you can learn more about Compassion from a volunteer's perspective.

First up...Act for Compassion!

What is it?

Stealing this from the Act for Compassion page..."a platform that exists to help you create online campaigns to take action to release children from poverty."

When the Act for Compassion web site was first launched, I did a Bake for Brazil campaign.

Bake for Brazil Act for Compassion campaign

My original goal for this online campaign was for 19 people to join me by raising $50 each. I was never able to find the other 19 people, but I was able to raise $100 baking and selling homemade baked goods to my local friends and family.

For the Act for Compassion fundraising campaigns, you can set one up for your birthday, anniversary, wedding, Christmas, etc. Currently, the campaigns are focusing on Bibles, clean water, goats, Haiti, and Ecuador. Be sure to check the Act for Compassion page because areas of critical need change on a regular basis.

Want to focus on finding sponsors for waiting children?

You can do that too!

What I love about the Act for Compassion sponsorship can set up your challenge to focus on different countries, ages, longest waiting, and a few other criteria.

So let's say, you just got back from a Compassion sponsor trip to Kenya.

Now you want to help find more sponsors for some children like the ones you fell in love with.

Set up your Act for Compassion sponsorship campaign for children just from Kenya!

One way I have used the sponsorship campaign, I set up a campaign to run in conjunction with my Compassion Sunday. This way, if people are searching for children by birthday, they could check my Act for Compassion sponsorship campaign to find a child whose birthday matched their own child's birthday!

One other area of the Act for Compassion page is the volunteer area.

Do you know that volunteers are a huge part of Compassion?

You can volunteer at Compassion partnered events.

Volunteer at Compassion partner events

Live in Colorado Springs? You can volunteer at Compassion Headquarters.

And, every now and then, there are volunteer leadership positions available as a way for you to serve!

As a sponsor, you are welcome to join the public Act for Compassion group on Facebook. And I also am the admin for the Act for Compassion Northern California group

These groups are great places to get encouragement and support, especially if you are looking to take the next step and become more involved as a volunteer with Compassion.

What questions do you have about Act for Compassion?

Italy - Day Two

Before we started exploring Rome on our first full day in Italy, we had to go try an Italian cappuccino. After a quick search, I found one within walking distance (actually, a lot of places were within walking distance!)

Sant Eustacchio il Caffe in Rome Italy

Once we arrived and figured out where to order our cappuccino and pastry, we waited at the coffee bar for our order. Seating in this cafe was extra, so just enjoyed our first breakfast standing up.

Croissant and cappuccino in Italy for breakfast

This was amazing!! I could get used to having this for breakfast every day!

Now before I write much more, I have to warn you that these Italy posts will be photo heavy. I did take my Nikon DSLR, but honestly, it was so much easier to just capture images with my iPhone.

After we finished our breakfast, we attempted to get an Uber to take us over to the Colosseum. Let me just say, our GPS did not work very well while we were over there. So we didn't find the spot where we needed to get the Uber. We ended up just catching a taxi to help cut down on the amount of walking we would be doing.

The Colosseum

We did not purchase tickets ahead of time, so we stood in line to enter Palatine Hill first. 

Excavation at Palatine Hill

I loved seeing excavation work going on at Palatine Hill. I wonder how many items they still find in the area.

View of The Colosseum from Palatine Hill

All of the signs had Italian and English. Do you see the dates on this sign?

Structures in Palatine Hill

It is incredible how many structures are still standing in this area from almost 2000 years ago!

Inside The Colosseum

After spending quite a bit of time walking around Palatine Hill, we made it over to the line to enter The Colosseum. The sheer size of this building is overwhelming!

Cross engraved in The Colosseum

I tried to photograph some of the less photographed things I found while walking around inside The Colosseum.

Hearts in The Colosseum

How many hearts do you see in this wall?

Here we are inside The Colosseum

We even had someone take our photo!

By this time, it had been quite a few hours since our cappuccino and croissant.

Lunch in Italy

I don't even remember all that we ordered for lunch, which is why photos from almost six months ago are helpful! But I do know, since it was a bit cold outside, we did have another cappuccino.

Cafe Cafe in Rome

After we finished lunch, we started walking toward The Pantheon.

Imperial Forum

We walked by the Imperial Forum. Some of these walls and columns were constructed before Jesus was born!

The Pantheon

The Pantheon is one of the buildings I did not want to miss on our trip.

Inside The Pantheon

This was my best attempt to capture the inside of The Pantheon. It is mind blowing to think how they constructed the inside of the dome and this building!

Exploring the streets of Rome

As you can see, many of the streets in Rome are quite narrow and nothing like the modern streets we have in the United States.

Inside a church in Rome

Many of the churches in Rome are open to the public. I recommend walking inside a few of them to admire the elaborate details.

Trevi Fountain

We have heard that most people who travel to Rome, stop by Trevi Fountain to throw in a coin. Apparently, if you do this, you are guaranteed a return trip to Italy...that is if you believe in that kind of stuff.

Did we throw in a coin? You bet we did! We had to do what all of the other tourists do!

By this time, after walking who knows how many miles, it was time to find a place for dinner.

Time for dinner in Italy

We decided to give this place a try...

homemade gnocchi

...because they had homemade gnocchi on the menu!


Because we did so much walking, we ordered tiramisu for dessert, yum!

Unicorn Fruit Loops

Probably the strangest thing we saw on this day was these Unicorn Fruit Loops in the market. Too bad we didn't have room in our luggage to bring a box or two of these home!

Have you ever been to Rome? What is the strangest thing you have ever seen while out of the country?

Stay three of our trip will be coming soon!