Advocating alongside my oldest {Compassion Blogger}

Three years ago my oldest and I walked the markets in China.  It was a few days before we met his sister and several days before he would visit the orphanage she spent her first year. The impact of that trip on his life can’t really be measured. When given the chance to open his eyes to people and places, especially those far from the borders of our state and nation, I will run passionately through that door. He was 18 months old when he got the first stamp in his passport. I want to blow his mind with sights, smells, people, and interactions. I want to dive into history, politics, social justice, and all the ‘deep’ stuff with him, showing him how he fits in the story of it all.

I want to go. With him. With each of my kids.

1.16compassion-01He has always been the one up for an adventure with me. Very little worries him or causes him to feel fearful. He is steady and confident. His emotions stay pretty much at one level lacking any extremes either direction, much like his mom. 1.16compassion-02This is a pretty special post – you’ll see why below – so I wanted a new picture of the two of us. These are the two most recent shots I have of us. In fact, I could not find one picture where we are both looking at the camera smiling. Most likely this is due to our mutual ability to be anything but active or awkward in front of a camera.  1.16compassion-05In less than two weeks, I will be taking him with me on a dream trip. A trip to gain understanding, to learn, to serve, to play and to advocate. I’m not the most eloquent of bloggers. I am certainly not the most ‘put together’. What you usually find on this blog is my journey in motherhood as a Christian…a mix of photography, projects and a whole lot of trying to see beauty in everyday moments.

In two weeks, we will board an airplane bound for Ecuador as part of a Compassion Blogger trip. For those unfamiliar with Compassion, I will be sharing more in the weeks to come. We sponsor a few children through Compassion. During this trip we will meet one of the boys we sponsor. We will also visit centers run by Compassion and see first hand the work they are doing in Ecuador. Advocating for children – alongside my child – this is a dream come true for me.

This will be the first Compassion Blogger trip which each blogger is bringing her son along too. We will be joining Ruth Simons (Gracelaced), Shannan Martin (Flowerpatch Farm Girl), and their sons.




1.16compassion-08Motherhood changed me. I have so many dreams and hopes for my children. Compassion International has allowed me to come alongside the moms of my sponsored kids. Together we get to watch these children we love have the opportunity to dream big with great hope for the future. I am equally thankful for all that wells up within my own kids as they forge relationships through letters and pictures with amazing kids around the globe.

As I look ahead to this trip, so many prayers for my oldest fall from my lips. So many prayers for the sponsored children and their families that we meet. And so many prayers for the children still waiting for sponsorship.



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  • Christi {Jealous Hands} - What an awesome opportunity. Can’t wait to follow along!

  • Catherine - Wow, what an awesome experience. I cannot wait to follow along and hear what you have to say.

  • Lindsey p - I’m so excited for you! And me, because our sponsored child is about to “age out” & we are deliberating about if we will use commpasion again or find another organization to donate to. Looking forward to your posts!

  • amber - There are just no words to describe how amazing this is! You are such an inspiring mom. An inspiring person. Just amazing. Can’t wait to see how this trip unfolds. Beautiful.

  • Kelley - dp you know what cities you will be in? I spent a semester in Quito Ecuador in college. Traveled a lot around the country that year. Some foods to try if you get the chance – fruit vendors on the streets, anything that peels is safe- clementines (mandarinas) or mini bananas (platanos pequeños). Maracuya is a delicious sour passion fruit. Fun to eat with a spoon and sugar. But I like it best in a milkshake- batído de maracuya. I also loved menestra con platano frito (lentils with fried banana, sounds weird, but the sweet and salty are good together) depending on where you’re going I can tell you what fun things to shop for. Lots of neat handmade items. Excited for you! And cannot wait to see your photos of a place I hold so dear.

  • Beth - Ashley… What a great opportunity. I would love to hear/see from his point of view. And as a VERY BIG aside….I read your blog *because* of you not being put together, not *in spite of* it!

  • Jenn - how exciting. i can’t wait to hear more of the trip as the weeks come and the time for the trip arrives. you will be in my prayers over the next couple of weeks. i hope your time is truly blessed

  • Susan - I can hardly wait to see what you share!!!

  • Tanya - What an awesome opportunity to share with your son. I can’t wait to see your pictures and hear about your journey. Safe and happy travels to you all.

  • Byron - God bless you! I love Compassion (and you’ve reminded me that I need to write my kids)!

  • ranee - I just love this so much. We are also big fans of the work that Compassion is doing and each of our kids sponsor a child that shares a birthday with them. I’m so excited for you to have this opportunity and perhaps one day my son and I will do the same! (and getting to travel with those two ladies probably wouldn’t be so bad, either!) 😉

  • Susie - I am jealous! This is my dream too! My husband does not like to travel out of the country so i have been dreaming to go with my kids! Have so much fun!

  • Hermione - You are a good mother, I have read your blog for years (though I don’t know if I’ve ever commented before), and I find your site to be such an encouragement and a beautiful glimpse of what intentional motherhood looks like. I know you’re not perfect, because none of us are, but it is evident that you love your children so very much. Thank you for being such a place of hope and positivity on the Internet.

  • Kayse - What some amazingly wonderful ways you are teaching your children! They will grow to be compassionate, intelligent, people full of love. Kudos!

  • Debbie - Our Compassion child is in Ecuador, too. I’ll be especially interested in following your Compassion trip entries. And how special to share this trip with your son.

  • Kinm Bernal - Hi! I love this post.
    Your love for your childs and to others is beautiful .
    Hopefully, we were many who want respect, understanding other cultures without destroy them .
    In addition, it reminded me some trips with my son and that made me very happy.

  • Avenlea Bixby - What a neat experience for you and your son! I would love to learn more about Compassion.

  • Tamara - We LOVE Compassion!!!

  • Kate - This! This is so amazing and awesome. I had no idea Compassion ever let bloggers take their kids. We love the ministry, and I love that you get to do this with your son. Incredible! I’m praying for you both!!

  • Around Our Table: The Next Compassion Blog Trip - Our Savory Life - […] Simons, Shannan Martin, Ashley Ann.  Followers of Christ who are committed to Kingdom work. Who know the value of a child. Who […]

  • Emily - So special! So excited for the two of year and can’t wait to hear your stories and experiences. Prayers!

  • Jessica Engel - Hi Ashley! I am a long-time reader but not sure I’ve actually ever commented. Love following along with your family. I was so excited to see your post on going to Ecuador! I went there myself (with my church) last spring. I am praying for you- for your son- for your trip. I can’t wait to see which villages you visit!

  • Teri - Just came across your blog and read of your Compassion trip. We’ve met 3 of our children. You are going to be SO blown away. I still get goose bumps thinking about our meetings.

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh my goodness! I am so thrilled for you! Have a wonderful, blessed, time and know that you will be covered in prayer.

  • Lisa - What an amazing experience for you to share with your son!

  • Compassion Bloggers are headed to Ecuador – Erica Dunomes - […] Simons, Shannon Martin, Ashley Ann will be traveling to Ecuador, each one with one of their sons at their sides. And while they are […]