Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Postholing in Sequoia

Our lives have been very full for a long-time. Both of us working, raising 4 kids, leading a small business, a church, a non-profit, loving our neighbors, trying not to neglect our friends & family, and figuring out how to ensure our house is in order....is a weekly miracle. But it's important for us to not neglect taking our family to the mountains even when there's limited time. At the end of this past winter, I had to work late on a Saturday, so Heidi took the kids to the mountains for some hiking....I told her I'd borrow a car and meet her up there in the afternoon. We agreed what trail I'd find her on, so in the early afternoon I blasted up to Sequoia National Park to go find her. I found her car at the Big Baldy Trailhead. I started up the trail and quickly realized....this was gonna be tough. It was still covered in snow....and the kind of snow where each step plunges through the surface making walking difficult. It's called postholing. Not fun. The trail was straight uphill for 2.5 miles, and I thought about her, postholing each step with three little kids and one 35lb kid on her back. Amazing. Once I reached the ridge, I was able to enjoy all the effort with a beautiful view, now basking in the warm sun. After 15 minutes more of ridge hiking, I finally heard, "DADDY!!" In the distance I saw the 5 of them running towards me! Their hiking boots were soaked, legs dirty, but faces were full of smiles. They looked like they worked for every step -- but smiles for miles made it worth it. 

I said, "Heidi, how are you!? That was some tough hiking!" She replied, "the kids did great. We sang, told stories, and payed attention to things in creation that reminded us of God." 

"You must be tired, here, let me take Joel, I'll carry him down," I said. Without skipping a beat she replied, "No way! I've gotta get my workout in!" Wow. Just. Wow.

I married the right person. 
These are good days.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Hiking in Yosemite with friends

One of the things we enjoy as a family is taking our friends to the mountains. We've noticed that the joy we experience there is magnified when we walk alongside great people in wild places. We recently spent time with our housemates in Yosemite. Terryn & Niki absolutely loved Yosemite and we loved being there with them!  

These are good days

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Road tripping to Joshua Tree - Part 5

Our sabbath rhythm as a family is to rest a day a week, 2 days a month, 1 week each spring, and three weeks each year. We've had people tell us over the years that it seems really rigid. They're right. It's extremely rigid....i.e. non negotiable. We've cultivated this spiritual practice for nearly 16 years and in the midst of ministry life it continues to be life giving. People over the years have also said that 3 weeks sounds like too much time and they could never do it. I think everyone should take more vacation than they think they need....but lazy, yes it's VERY lazy -- we camp, we climb, and we hike....very restful sabbath practises for the White family. The difference between people who experience sabbath rest and everybody else, is that the people who know how to rest are experts at saying no. Sabbath is an act of saying no to our own drivenness, desire to succeed, need to produce, and addiction to the feeling that busyness give us.

During the final days of our spring break trip to Joshua Tree, we spent our time rock climbing, hiking, eating, and watching sunrises and sunsets. Sabbath stuff. 

Our campsite was at a place called Indian Cove. It was truly an amazing place. The campsites are tucked into the rock formations that offer endless opportunities to scramble, boulder, and climb with ropes. 

In the evenings we'd tell stories, eat smores, laugh and lounge. 

During the day, Indian Cove is a place with endless climbing opportunities!

One of the last hikes we did as a family was called the Boy Scout Trail. It is a beautiful 8 mile point-to-point trail. It features amazing wild flowers and only ascends 1700ft. It's a great way to get the true Joshua Tree experience. We highly recommend it! 

After our hike we found some boulders to climb and a cave to enjoy out of the sun. 

At the end of the day we enjoyed PIZZA. Pizza is the perfect post-hike food, I think! 

In the evening we found an amazing place to watch our final sunset in Joshua Tree National Park. Every sunset is a reminder that it's OK to hit the reset button. You can leave yesterdays worries in the past and look ahead to tomorrow -- a new opportunity to trust God. 

Every time we focus on sabbath, we are teaching our kids that a successful life is not defined by how much you accomplish for God, but by becoming more aware of how much God does for us.

The wise old man who wrote Ecclesiastes, now reflecting on his storied life said at the end of his book, "After all this, there is only one thing to say: Have reverence for God,...because this is all that we were created for." 

Sabbath grows reverence for God. 

These are good days

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Road tripping to Joshua Tree - Part 4

Life in the desert is...complicated. Humans have had to figure out how to thrive in hot environments without lots of water. 

Our rhythm was to get water in the neighboring towns in the evening and then try to do the bulk of our hiking in the mornings while it was still relatively cool. 

We did all sorts of hikes....from 3 mile nature walks 9 mile hikes through remote desert canyons.

When you walk through wild places you get to see amazing things that are otherwise missed from the highways passing through. The desert has an allure that ingratiates itself to you if you slow down and pay attention. 

Warren Peak may have been one of our favorite summits to explore. 

On the top we like to look for the summit register and look at all the people who came before us. 

Once it gets really hot in the afternoons, especially after long hikes...we like to find ice cream! This might be the funnest part of the hiking experience according to the kids. 

Boy Scout Trail was our longest trail. The kids did over 9 miles that day.

I've taught my boys that everyday they need to hug and kiss their sister and reminder her that they love her.

Noah has been our surprise hiker this trip. He refuses to be carried and insists he hike on his own and carry his own water, food, and pack. 

He's still learning though...after the first 4 miles of this hike he was complaining about his feet hurting....come to find out he forgot to put socks on! The sand and rocks in his shoes were acting like sand paper on his 5 year old feet. 

In the afternoons after hiking and ice cream shops...we like to visit historical sites. On this occasion we went to a town called, Pioneertown. This town was created as a living breathing motion-picture set. The town was designed to provide a place for production companies to enjoy while also using their businesses and homes in movies. Hundreds of Westerns and early television shows were filmed in Pioneertown. What a crazy place! 

Though we did shove them in jail in Pioneertown, we didn't leave them there (Joe considered it, lol). We actually like being around them! Vacation isn't our opportunity to get away from our kids....it is focused time to pour into one-another. The joy of spending time with them now is an echo of heaven. 

These are good days.

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