Monday, January 23, 2017

No objective necessary

Heidi and I are planners.
We have a financial plan, a ministry plan, a daily plan, a yearly plan....and for the most part...we stick to it.  But every Monday...we put our very planned-life on the alter and ask God for something new.

The day started out with God crying on us.


....but as the day improved we knew that the moment the kids got out of school....the thing God had for us was an adventure.  Adventure is mostly a state of mind.  It has very little to do with a destination and isn't limited by difficulty or whether something can be achieved.  It's simply the mindset to explore, learn, and stay attentive to the things that matter.  


About 35 minutes from where we live is a 14 mile trail that follows Millerton Lake named the San Joaquin River Trail.  We didn't need to do 14 miles....we did just enough to find the adventure we were looking to receive from God.


We explored rocks, played in mud, got messy, hiked uphill for 1.5 miles, got rained on, threw sticks, and kept our kids from falling down steep slopes.


Near one of the summits along the trail...the rain stopped just enough for us to catch a glimpse of the sun.  There are always rewards along the way to an adventure.


....can you see us looking like the oak trees around us (below)? 


As planned people...we need days when there are no objectives and nothing to achieve -- days when all that is necessary is a mindset for adventure and gratitude...no matter what the outcome.  


These are good days
....good days we get to enjoy together.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Martin Luther King Jr. & Snowshoeing

One of my mentors is Martin Luther King Jr.  I began to study him early in my life because for as long as I can remember....my dad had a picture of him on his desk.  My dad taught me about MLK -- the man and the message, including what implications there were for my theology, for the church, for the way I'd live my life, and my own ethnic identity.

To observe the day...we jumped in the car and headed to the mountains.  
The car was silent (imposed by us).
Heidi found a MLK sermon (one of his last) and played it.
We asked the kids to listen to every word and promised that we'd explain it afterward.

At multiple moments, I found myself crying in the drivers seat.
His message was powerful and prophetic...and still so timely in 2017.

After the sermon the mountains were a welcome sight

A sermon to teach us how to be reconciled to one another
A mountain to teach us how to be reconciled to creation


Driving to the mountains from Fresno is a breeze.  Within 15 minutes we are in the foothills and within an hour we are at 6000 feet.  


Today was about snowshoeing at Panoramic Point in Sequoia National Park



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The kids were tired today....we didn't make it to our destination.  That's ALWAYS ok!  


We stopped half way for a bite to eat, hot chocolate, and hanging out.  Noah is concerned that he won't get as many apples as his older siblings.  #3rdKidProblems


And of course, Noah is concerned about having enough hot chocolate to drink.  Because again, the struggle is real for the 3rd kid.


As we hiked though....we noticed that as our pace slowed and our destination changed (no summits today), we found ourselves taking more breaks for food & hot chocolate.  As we did this...their demeanour began to change.  We noticed their contentment.

Portraits of contentment.





I think everybody could find contentment through snowshoeing.  Snowshoeing is a fun way to hike in the winter.  You'll love the sound the snow makes under your snowshoes and the way the trees look under heavy loads of snow.

Every snowshoe trip we ask our kids learn a lesson from what they see. 

Elizabeth saw a tree with three limbs.  She said, "Daddy....that tree is like God"
Josiah saw a rock covered in moss.  He said, "Daddy, the moss covers the rock to keep it warm.  God takes care of us too."
Noah....mumbled.
Joel...said nothing. Typical.


The mountains have lessons to teach if we are willing to listen.  If we are willing to be reconciled to creation we will undoubtedly find contentment within it's wild.  



A sermon from MLK & a hike
...2 lessons
...1 family 


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Two types of days

There are two types of days -- the one for you and the one for those around you.  Don't confuse the two & you need both in your life.  It's a matter of focus....some days are meant as self-care and some are meant for caring for the people around you. 


The other day we went hiking (and glamour camping) with some friends at Bass Lake.  It was a really fun afternoon...a fun afternoon for everyone.  One of the keys to camping and hiking with kids is that you ensure it's fun for everyone.  Remember...there are two types of days...the ones for you and the ones for everyone around you.  Your kids need your outing to be for everyone...not just you!    








But then there are the other types of days.  Those are the days for you.  Don't feel guilty about them.  Self-care is a real thing...and it's a thing we all need. 

So for my birthday, it was a day at China Peak with some mountain mates.  It is the ski-hard-and-leave-it-all on the ski hill kinda self-care.    









Two types of days
Both important

These are good days


Monday, January 9, 2017

Teaching our kids to deal with disappointment

What's your strategy for dealing with disappointment?

We have often observed that our tendency is to mix an emotional cocktail of pouting & low energy & filling that void with something stupid (the mindless use of the Internet). Sound familiar?

This morning, 2 of our kids woke up disappointed.  They had pink-eye.



In our heart....as these kids' parents....we truly believe that it's a crime to waste a good crisis. 

We want to teach them to deal with disappointments (of which there will be MANY).....God's way.  The truth is, we'll never learn to be brave until we learn resilience in the face of our disappointments.

This morning we took the kids to the river....threw rocks....played in the rain....did kid stuff.  No pouting, no low energy, no stupid Internet allowed.  



They loved it...and so did we.
....our tenacious commitment to resiliency.

These are good days.



Monday, January 2, 2017

Skiing as a Family

Since having kids, 7 years ago.....a dream of ours has always been to ski together as a family.  We've always said, as soon as the kids were able to carry their own gear....we'd teach them how to ski.  Elizabeth learned a little bit a couple years ago...but this year was the year that Josiah and Elizabeth really started to get serious about learning. 

They got the stoke.


We knew that the stoke was growing because in the last few months....all they've wanted to watch on YouTube is skiing videos.  We can dig that.


It was so rewarding to see THEM want to learn how to ski...not us trying to "get them to learn".  Wow....so.incredibly.rewarded for us watch.


Sharing a passion with our kids has always felt very healthy for our family.  We hike together each week and climb together during the rock climbing season.  It felt amazing for us to see them get PUMPED to learn to ski and add another passion our family can share.


They both were such great learners.  Within the first hour...they were skiing on their own, going from parallel skis (french fries) to slowing down and stopping (pizza slices).  Their lift tickets included a ski lesson...which was OK...not great -- there were lots of kids and only a couple inexperienced teachers.  But it didn't seem to bother them.  They were happy to be on skis. 


After 4 hours of continuous skiing on the bunny hill with us...they asked us to simply watch from the bottom so they could do it on their own -- i.e. get on the lift, exit the lift, position themselves at the top and ski down the bunny hill.  For the last 20 minutes of the day...we watched them lap the bunny hill all on their own!  So proud!  We hope they'll be huckin' themselves off some rad jumps and descending some gnarly lines in the near future.  Go kids go! 



At the end of the day...a little snack felt well deserved.  They LOOK happy, don't they?



Today has been a real dream for us...to see our oldest two share a passion with us that they genuinely look forward to and are ambitious to learn....it is so satisfying for us.  We can't wait for the day we get to be on the chairlift with them....side by side...talking about life, and getting ready for the adventure that awaits at the top of the hill.  

These are good days.



Friday, December 30, 2016

Snowshoeing with little kids

Heidi and I have been snowshoeing together for over a decade.  We find it to be a fun way to keep hiking in the winter (when we're not skiing!).

Recently we bought the two oldest kids their own snowshoes.  They LOVED being able to walk on their own terms...not just hang out on our backs or walk in our footsteps.



We found a logging road which was closed off behind a gate and followed the fresh powder through the forrest.



We absolutely love seeing our kids enjoy being in the mountains.  It's a real dream for us....to see them connected to a place...experiencing it...enjoying it...and creating an adventure inside of it. 




This little guy (below) didn't do much...he just slept.  









There's always time to make yellow snow!  It's a right of passage! 


These are good days. 



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