Free Blurb Planner Giveaway

Hey friends,

I’m running a contest on the Traveling with Purpose website and you can enter to win just by adding a comment below the post where it says “Leave a Reply”.

Contest runs today (Sunday 12/9) only, so go over check out the details and answer the question to win!

Blurb weekly planner-baby

Using Custom Blurb Books for Fundraising!

This week I finished two different Blurb books for a non-profit organization that I help out part time.  I love creating these books and thinking of new ways to use them to help others.

The first book that I finished this month was a  (200-page) 12″ x 12″ photo book that captured the trip that I was privileged to go on in October of 2011.  I joined a team of 7 other women and 1 man who traveled to Israel and Jordan to gather information and talk to women in the Arab World about an upcoming training program that’s being offered by the Global Training Institute for Women (GTIW aka Greater Reach Ministries) beginning in May 2012.  The 6 training sessions will take place over a 3-year period.  Their goal is to see transformed women who are rooted in their biblical identity and have a clear understanding of their spiritual gifts, resulting in courageously leading other women to the same truth.  They hope to take at least 20 Christian Arab women leaders through this program and in the future expand into Eastern Europe and the U.S. as well.

Our hope is that the photos I took on the trip will help them to spread the word about the need for training and the vision of GTIW and help raise funds to pay for the women who have limited income to attend the training.  They’ve also asked me to join them in May as the photographer/historian at the first training session in the Arab World.

If you’d like to get a sampling of the big book, you can check it out here.  The photos of the people that we met with have been omitted from the online book preview for their own security, since some Christians and Muslim Background Believers risk their lives in professing their faith in Christ.

The second book that I created is a personal Prayer Journal that contains 31 blank pages to write in and a page with scripture and a photo from the Holy Land for every 7 blank pages.  If you’d like to see a full preview of the journal, please take a look here.

All proceeds from both books help to fund the Global Training Institute for Women… So after you see it, if you decide you’d like to order a few for yourself or as a gift, please use this link and get 15% off your whole order with the discount code 15OFFBLURB (all caps).   

f you write a page each day in the journal, it will last a full month.  If you write less than a page, then the journal will cover a longer period of time. In the future we may be researching other printing options to lower the cost and increase the fund-raising dollars per book and be able to increase the page count as well.  Plus we’ll be creating new designs with different photos and possibly a planner/calendar layout too!

For more information about the ministry or if you would like to contribute directly, please visit the website to donate at GreaterReach.com, send a check to the address below or contact them at:

Global Training Institute for Women
8283 N. Hayden Road, Suite 258
Scottsdale, AZ 85258

email. Info[at]GTIW[dot]com

480.718.3062

Be sure to tell them where you heard about it!  And let me know your thoughts on what you’d like to see in future book products as well. Thanks so much!

10 Things I Love about Los Angeles

Walt Disney Concert Hall
Walt Disney Concert Hall

I’m interrupting my stories about Scotland to celebrate my 600th post by doing a little catch up on what’s going on in my life at this moment.

Today I’m in downtown L.A. I’m here to attend BlogWorld Social Media Business Summit & New Media Expo (#BWELA)!  I’m really excited about the avalanche of workshops that I will encounter over the next 3 days and can’t wait to get started sorting out which ones I’ll attend in person and which I’ll listen to after the conference.

BUT, before I dive into the conference I wanted to share a little of what inspired me today.  You see, not so very long ago I lived in a suburb of L.A.  In fact I lived just about 40 miles north of here for 18 years.  And while we didn’t come into the “city” frequently, we did have a chance to enjoy the benefits occasionally.  I’m not really a city girl,  I’m fairly certain that I wouldn’t want to live here, but I love visiting.  Something about the soaring skyline and bustling traffic energizes me.  I get the feeling that important things are happening here.  Deals are being brokered, historic decisions are being made and ideas emerge here that are changing the world.

These are just a few of the things that inspire me about L.A.:

  1. Driving past the iconic Capitol Records building
  2. Passing billboards about new TV shows and movies (do you see that in your town?)
  3. Enjoying dinner outdoors in November
  4. Landing on radio stations in 7 or 8 different languages
  5. The city skyline – it’s breathtaking
  6. Exit signs for Little Armenia, and Historic Filipinotown
  7. Realizing that the Pacific Ocean is just minutes away.
  8. Appreciating all the sculptures and great architecture in downtown
  9. Remembering that they have an “all news-all the time” radio station (AM1070). I miss that.
  10. Celebrating the fact that the L.A. Philharmonic plays regularly at two awesome venues – The Walt Disney Concert Hall (see below) and the Hollywood Bowl (one of my absolute favorites). I miss that too.

So here’s how my day went in this inspiring city…

I drove from the Burbank airport this morning and met my daughter and son-in-law for breakfast (which I don’t get to do nearly as often as I’d like).  Amy and Andrew are a couple of inspiring people too, but that story will have to wait for another time.  I enjoyed a few hours with them, then headed down to the hotel where I’ll be staying for the duration of the conference.

On the way there, I passed the AMAZING, Frank Gehry designed, Walt Disney Concert Hall just a few blocks from the hotel.  After checking in, it was such a gorgeous day that I decided to walk there.  If you’ve never seen it in person, you really should make a point to go.  I would love to take a tour and would especially love to attend a performance there.  I understand that the acoustics in the auditorium are nearly perfect.  Another fun tidbit is that there’s a small theater and gallery space in one corner of the Hall, called REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater).  I used to work at CalArts (California Institute of the Arts) when REDCAT was being built and the staff and student body were anxiously awaiting it’s completion, so I have a bit of a vested interest in the place.

Anyway, here are a few photos of this awe inspiring complex.

REDCAT
Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater

The amazing thing is not so much imagining the building, but actually making it come to life with all those curves and waves.  It’s spectacular!

While there I stopped in the gift shop because these places are just dripping with culture and creativity.  I saw this great T-shirt and a bunch of other inspirational items, but it wasn’t really a shopping day for me, and I can’t really afford a $120 scarf no matter how beautiful it is, so I had to pass on all but a couple of little things that I picked up for Christmas gifts.

Music Tshirt
L.A. Philharmonic Tshirt

After dinner, I had a chance to go out and play a little with my camera and here’s a fun shot.

Los Angeles Downtown
Los Angeles Downtown

So now, it’s off to bed to rest up for 3 days of inspiration and information to come.

Have you ever been to Los Angeles?  If not, what do you find inspiring about your own town?

Hope to see you soon!

Exploring La Jolla, California (Part 2)

If you missed part 1 of this post about the Harbor Seals, you can find it here.

LaJolla Bride

After doing a little bit of wading in the water, we walked along the sidewalk that hugs the coastline and passed two different wedding parties enjoying a gorgeous setting to tie the knot.  This bride was on her way from her photo shoot to her reception.  I saw our daughter, Amy gazing longingly at the wedding festivities.  I know she would love to shoot a wedding here (so give her a call if you need a photographer for here or anywhere)!

We ended up resting under these wonderful curvy, gnarled trees.  I have no idea what they’re called, but they were so unique.

Next we headed toward LaJolla Cove (just a few steps away).  We passed this lovely plein air painting on the way to the beach.  I’d love to try painting again someday, but I’m not sure I’d be brave enough to try it with so many onlookers.  You couldn’t find a more perfect setting though.

This is La Jolla Cove which is actually designated as an Underwater Park Ecological Reserve where fishing is prohibited and all the marine life is protected.  You’ll enjoy snorkeling, scuba diving, swimming and kayaking here!

I’m told that there are times during the year where you can see both Seals and Sea Lions at Casa Beach, but that didn’t seem to be the case this week. Today we get to meet the California Sea Lions that are at La Jolla Cove.  It’s within easy walking distance of the seals.

I think it’s so awesome that these gorgeous creatures are in such close proximity to each other and so accessible for the public to view.  What a great way to teach your little ones about the magnificence of God’s creation and to guide them in how to explore, appreciate, honor and respect their natural world. This is the ultimate example of nature at your doorstep, even in busy southern California.  As you can see, these kayakers have an amazing view of the sea lions and a much different vantage point than those of us on land.La Jolla Kayaks and Sea Lions

LaJolla CA Sea Lions By the way, do you know the difference between the seal and sea lions that we see in La Jolla?  Sea Lions have small external ear flaps.  Another big difference between true seals and sea lions is that sea lions have larger front flippers which they use effectively on land. Sea lions can also rotate their hind flippers toward the ground so they’re able to walk on all four appendages, unlike seals that basically “scooch” on their bellies. They make use of their fore flippers when propelling themselves through water too.  Sea Lions are generally the creatures that you’ll see performing in shows, since they’re highly intelligent and relatively easy to train.  If you’d like to get into even more detail about the differences, visit “How Stuff Works” here.

And last, but not least this temperate climate does wonders for flowers!  Here’s just a taste of the colors you may see here.

Here’s a link to a detailed map of the LaJolla area.  At this posting it was last updated in 2010, so it’s hard to tell how accurate the business listings are, but for general navigation, it should be helpful.

So what’s your favorite part of La Jolla so far?

Next post will be about the Open Aire Market there.  Stay tuned – you’re gonna wish there was a scratch and sniff blog option.

Here are a few of my favorite pics of our family from the weekend.  Don’t you just love Amy’s earrings!

Terry in La Jolla

Andrew La Jolla

Exploring La Jolla California (Part 1)

For our first day in LaJolla, after inching through the traffic between the hotel and the coast, we finally found a place to park about a block from the beach.

LaJolla CA Seal Beach

First stop would be the Casa Beach to see the Harbor Seals.  Here’s what the view looks like from street level (click to enlarge).  Now remember this is right in town and less than a 5 minute walk from where we parked.  Looks kinda like a normal beach, protected from the waves by the wall and walkway.  What you may not notice is that there are Harbor Seals in the water and on the beach, just below the wall, past where all the people are.  At certain times of the year, the whole beach is covered with seals, and this is also where they have their pups in the spring.

This harbor seal colony numbers approximately 200 seals.  To learn more about this beach, the seals and the La Jolla Friends of the Seals that help out there, click here.  It’s really quite interesting.  There’s also some controversy between those that think the beach should be roped off to protect the seals year round and those that think humans should have access to the beach in the summer for swimming.  If you’re interested in more info on that, visit “The Controversy” here.Pacific Harbor Seals La Jolla

We walked down on the beach and I pulled out my 300mm zoom lens so I could get some close-up shots of the seals without disturbing them physically.  They’re so cute and lovable, but can seem to be aggressive when humans encroach on their space.  While we were standing there, an adult seal moved away from the rest of the seals and toward some folks that were getting too close.  She seemed to be chasing them away from the pups and other adult seals.  Once everyone backed up, she went back to the group.   I’m not sure what would have happened if the humans hadn’t moved, but suffice it to say that it’s important that we respect their habitat and honor their right to be there too.  In the photo above you can see how close people were to the seals.

Multi-colored SealsHere’s a group shot that shows the interesting range of color and pattern in their fur coats.  They go from silver to black with all manor of combinations in between.

La Jolla Seals and TrashLook at the seal heading into the water in this one!  And the brownish one lying on his back.  He looks like your favorite dog begging to have his belly scratched.  The sad thing about this photo is the water bottle tossed in the group of seals.  Seriously, who in the world would do that?  Sad enough that someone would throw it on the ground at all, but the fact that this could have been thrown directly at a seal is disgusting.  Please teach your children that this kind of behavior is unacceptable.  (getting off my soap box now…)

Amy & Andrew LaJollaSo after we left Casa Beach, we walked down a little way.  Andrew and I did some wading at another stretch of beach while Terry and Amy looked on.

And while we were there, I used my “motherly expertise” to rescue a little boy who had encountered a serious issue.  Check out this photo that Amy took.  This little guy was maybe 8 years old and had been playing on the rocks at the beach.  Somehow he managed to rip his trousers across the top of the back pocket and ALL THE WAY down his pant leg from top to bottom, so his underwear and rear end was showing.  Fortunately he HAD underwear ON, but it was still pretty embarrassing, I’m sure.  So Amy had a big safety pin and I managed to get the loose flap pinned to the top of his pocket enough so that everything wasn’t hanging out.  It’s something only a mom would be allowed to do respectfully.  I’m not sure where his mother was, but I would have hoped that someone would do the same for Kevin if he’d been wandering around like that when he was young.  The little boy seemed to be appreciative, but still couldn’t find the shirt that he lost as well.  Good thing he was having fun in the water, otherwise it could have been a ruined day for him.

Amy & Terry

Andrew in LaJolla

Isn’t it amazing how, even as adults we’re fascinated by the interplay between waves and sand.  I could sit and watch the ocean for hours.  It’s so relaxing and refreshing…

You can see more photos that Amy posted from our adventures here too.

So, we’re about half way through the day at this point.  The next post will be the rest of the afternoon.

What do you think about the ocean?  Is it scary or intriguing to you?  Having grown up right next to Lake Erie, large bodies of water don’t frighten me.  I am a bit intimidated by the more dangerous creatures in the ocean though…like sharks and jelly fish and the like.  And I’m not really fond of the salt water coating that’s left in your hair and on your skin after swimming in the ocean.

Let me know what you think about the ocean. Have you ever been to La Jolla?  What’s your favorite thing to do there?

Eating in La Jolla, California

Because we know it’s all about the food, I thought I’d share about a couple of places that we ate when we were in La Jolla.

The Spot – La Jolla

Saturday night was an unofficial birthday dinner for me (and for Andrew too) since both of our birthdays were in the week before we were there.  We tried to make a reservation for a place overlooking the coast, but the earliest they had was 8pm, and we had eaten early in the day, so we tried to find someplace available earlier.  We ended up at The Spot.

It wasn’t overlooking the coast, but we were able to snag a table right next to a couple of windows that opened out onto the sidewalk with the fresh ocean breeze wafting through.  This is the booth where we sat.  Can’t you just feel the breeze?

It also helped because the restaurant is a little dark, so the outside access helped it feel more open.

Here’s what we ate:

Andrew’s Garbage Burger: 1/2 lb beef patty with lettuce, tomato, pickle fries, sauteed mushrooms, bacon, cheddar cheese, caramelized onions and onion rings

Garbage Burger

My steak and shrimp scampi.  The scampi was a little over-cooked but still had good flavor.   The steak was tender and delicious!

Steak and Scampi

Terry’s Shrimp with Penne Pasta looked very tasty: imported penne pasta tossed with grilled chicken in our pesto cream sauce

Pasta with Shrimp

I don’t have a photo, but at the table next to us the guys had a Deep Pan Pizza that looked amazing!  We were staring enough as it was, so I didn’t want to totally intrude by taking a picture.

This is the view looking outside from the table.

Overall it was a wonderful meal in a great location with some of my favorite dinner companions.

For those who’ve seen this post already, I apologize for the duplication.  I realized that I didn’t include the “window” shots and I wanted to add them.

I think I’m going to share about the next place in a separate post because there’s more than just the meal to talk about.

Next Post: Seals, Sea Lions and more in LaJolla

Then: LaJolla’s Open Aire Market!

5 Ways That My Husband Loves Our Kids

In honor of Father’s Day, I thought I’d share a little bit about why I’m so thankful for the man I married.   He’s taken time to invest in our children in so many ways over the years and here are just a few of them.

He loves our kids by showing affection to them and to me.

He loves our kids by encouraging them to seek out adventure.

He loves our kids by teaching them stuff. (They’re flying kites here.)

He loves our kids by enjoying life and having fun with them often.

He loves our kids by reading to them and encouraging them to be lifelong readers. (He always loved to do all the fun voices when he was reading to them as little ones.)

I trust that you can take time today to find at least one thing that you can be thankful for in regard to your father or the father of your children and take a few minutes to let them know about it.

I’m so thankful that my own dad was a good provider for our family.  We never went hungry and always had a roof over our heads and clothes to wear.

Who and what are you thankful for on this Father’s Day?