Saturday, June 24, 2017

Surprise breakfast before school

Date mornings are my favorite mornings. 
Wake the kids up early....
Go to a breakfast joint...
Eat a spectacularly unhealthy breakfast....

Just me and them.


Whenever we do this I am always reminded how much I admire my kids.
They are smart, great conversationalists, adventures, and filled with LIFE.

....taking my kids out to breakfast since 2009...and I plan to never stop.


Desert life

We are LOVING our time here in Smith Rock, Oregon. Road-trippin, climbing, camping for 3 weeks....We'll have a full trip report soon...but here are a some key ideas to summarize our time so far:

Simple life
Desert life
Family life
Climbing life
Adventure life
Jesus life
Present life

....these are good days.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Hiking the River Trail

The truth is....we are about 10000 adventures behind on this blog.  It's unbelievable. We explore more than we blog.  Our trail babies are adventuring well these days....they love gardening, exploring, hiking, climbing, and spending time outside.  We love that about them.  Maybe one day the'll be able to look back through the nearly 975 blog posts and remember amazing days under the open heaven. 

so today...just pictures for them to remember that the days are good -- past, present, and future.











Sunday, June 18, 2017

The school of Yosemite

We know thousands of people...and observed this to be true:  most people are on the earth, not in it.  We live on city streets, work long-hours, spend time at our kids sporting events, socialize with friends on the weekends, eat-out during the week and spend hours each week inside of cars commuting from one place to another.  Living this way is important...but not essential.  What is essential is being connected to the earth in meaningful ways.  Essential because being in creation reminds us that we are not the creator but the created -- very little inherent to our lives outside of being in nature can show us this as vividly.  It's an essential lesson.

We recently went with our friend Ashley to Yosemite for a day of hiking, sitting, walking, eating....enjoying our lives as the created.











These are good days



Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Work 6 Rest 1

Once a week we take a sabbath day. 
We work 6 days a week and rest 1.
Sabbath is just a fancy word that means "cease" or "stop".
We stop creating so we can remember that we are not the creator but the created. 

On Mondays we turn off our internet and turn off our phones. Our day starts in the garden (that's where we pray) and ends up in the hills (that's where we play).  Then, it always ends in a date night.  It's not perfect (we have kids)...it's not unique (millions of people keep sabbath)...
...but it is IMPORTANT.  Do you keep sabbath?  

Recently we went to a lake and just sat.
We listened to God
We prayed
We sang
We read

We are the created...made as human beings...not just human doings.  





Monday, June 5, 2017

I left my heart in San Francisco

I (joe) never liked San Francisco.  As a kid...every time I went there, something bad happened to me.  In high school I got into "an altercation" with a street performer.  In college I sat next to a serial killer on a bus.  On another occasion, a pigeon stole my sourdough chowder bowl.  I still hate pigeons.

But all that changed a year ago.  Two friends of mine took me to San Francisco to redeem the city for me.  We explored the city on bikes for 8+ hours.  We rode, stopped, hung out, drank great coffee, and ate amazing food.  Seeing the city with a fresh set of eyes....changed the city for me.  I no longer saw it through the lens of it's deficits, I saw it through the lens of it's beauty.  

Beauty is important.  
Look for it everywhere, in everything, and in everyone.  
It will change your perspective.

Recently, we took a friend of ours who was visiting from Canada to San Francisco for a day-trip.  Even thought we HAD to go to deal with passport issues...we were able to sneak away and spend a day in beautiful SF.  






San Francisco is even more beautiful when you can enjoy it with the people you love! 

These are good days.


Saturday, June 3, 2017

Best.Day.Ever

This past winter was one of my best days ever on the ski hill.  Our ski hill, China Peak, is only 1.5 hours away.  It's not difficult to get our kids there.  It does take effort...but we're not afraid of effort. Thankfully.  Otherwise we would have missed out on one of our best days on the hill! 


It wasn't about skiing hard...it was about skiing together.  For the first time, we found ourselves on the same lifts as our kids, on the same slopes.


....it was my dream since having kids that we'd be able to ski together one day...and that they'd actually like it.  My dream came true!  Pure joy! 


These are good days.



Thursday, June 1, 2017

The value of hiking

There's a great book named "Best Easy Day Hikes Fresno".  Each week as a family we try to be on a new trail.  This book has made it very easy for us to know where to go.  It's been our game-changer.  This is a good tip for those of you reading this blog and longing to connect more to the city you live in.  Find a book that makes it easy on ya....no guesswork! 


In a world filled with technology...ipads, iphones, ieverything....it's nice to get away from it all.  Maybe it's more than, "nice"...it's necessary.  


There are things that can't be learned in front of a screen
....like that, sweating feels healthy and nature doesn't care about your resume.


We all want to live lives that are simpler, healthier, more reflective, more family oriented, more present to place, more curious....being outside gives us what we're looking for and what we all need.


These are good days
...so get outside! 


Monday, May 1, 2017

Family climbing trip - Red Rocks - Part 4

We promise...this is our last blog post about our time in Red Rock!  We finished our time there with a hike and a climb...a perfect combo...for a perfect time together.  Our oldest two kids are turning into some STRONG hikers.  Seriously.  I'm not just a proud parent (I am that, of course) but objectively speaking....Elizabeth is at the point where I have to try and keep up with her.  She and Josiah can hike for hours now....it's seriously impressive.  Well done, kids! 


On the last day....Heidi had a chance to climb an incredible climb up a very interesting sandstone feature which included exposed & insecure chimney, crack, and face climbing.  Read:  a climbers nightmare and delight.  ...a diverse climb like that is going to expose anything you're not good at.  She rocked it and had fun!  



After 4 kids, Heidi hasn't lost her love for the mountains, for climbing, for camping, and for adventure.  In the last year she's run multiple running races, including a 200 mile relay-race which meant running through the night from Fresno to the central coast.  She's amazing!  


Our time in Red Rock was another amazing example of how the Lord takes cares of us:  a car that works, money for 2 tanks of gas, food for camping, the skill to hike and climb in wild places, and the spirit of adventure which has never left our family.  True joy! 

These are.  
Good Days.



Sunday, April 30, 2017

Family climbing trip - Red Rocks - Part 3

Recently I had one of my best days climbing.  The climb wasn't hard or high....but it was EPIC for me.  Some people climb to achieve things...not me.  I climb to enjoy things.  I don't need more achievement in my life....I've got plenty -- great friends, great family, great calling, a great neighborhood, great church....there's so much to be grateful for.  

I've dreamt since 2005 that one day I'd climb with my kids and that I would watch them enjoy climbing.  Of course, I would be OK if they decided they didn't enjoy it...but secretly I hoped that they would.  

Since the kids were born, they've spent every year of their lives around rocks, mountains, and trails.  And they've been on MANY climbing days and climbing trips.  They have also climbed outside since they could walk.  But there was something about this climb on this day that made it feel like they wanted to climb for their own enjoyment and push their own boundaries of what they thought could be possible.

For the first time  it was their climb.  
And it was no joke. 
5.6, 100+ feet.  Vertical sandstone.

...and to top it off....I wouldn't be at the bottom encouraging them up....I would be at the top...bringing them up to me (in non-climber terms, that's, "OMG....I have to climb up this scary climb without seeing and hearing my dad from the bottom and remove the safety protection he used as I climb up?!")


Elizabeth did amazing. 
I was so proud.


She climbed with confidence and ease.  I remember thinking, "I can't believe I'm seeing one of my dreams come true!"


I couldn't have been happier at the summit.  This was the first time we had been on the top of a climb together.


Somehow...this is a picture that will be engraved in my memory forever.


This is the view at the top: High and beautiful! 


Josiah was also able to climb another 5.6 with a small overhang.  I was so impressed by his dedication to persist through difficulty and get the job done.  Amazing!  




For some people, climbing is all about achievement:  harder and bigger climbs.  For a time, that's what was important for me also.  But in my heart, climbing is fundamentally about connecting to people and place -- My climbing partners, Jay & Trevor, instilled this into me and it's never left me. 

I am so proud of my kids -- and connecting to them in this way was one of my most memorable climbing days ever.

These are good days! 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Family climbing trip - Red Rocks - Part 2

Camping with kids is really no big deal.  People tend to make it a big deal....but if you do it right, it's like sleeping at home.  Seriously.  There are a some things we do that make it work:
  1. Using tents that are easy to set-up.  We only use tents with two poles.  There is nothing worse than stressing about set-up and tear-down.  
  2. The kids that sleep well go in their own tent and the kids that don't sleep well, sleep in our tent.
  3. The adults sleep cots....the kids sleep on the ground.  After 20 years on the ground...we're too old for all that on-the-ground shenanigans.


4.  Bring stuff for your kids to do in the mornings -- Books, games, paper for drawing...it's your best chance at "sleeping in." 


5.  We're kind of an ambitious go-getr type family.  We used to hammer it right from the moment people woke-up until the sun set.  These days...we take LONG mornings.  We won't get to the base of the climb or hike until 9am.  Enjoy the sights and sounds of beautiful mornings    


Camping is about RELAXING. For us it's about getting off of a time-schedule and into a different rhythm.  



One of the things we love about Red Rock National Park is the mix of great hiking and great climbing.  There is something for the whole family to get into! 



Elizabeth and Josiah are able to top-rope most 5.6's outside these days.  We are so proud. 






When we are not climbing, we find a hikes to go on.  We have two criteria for a hike:  a nice view and easy enough that our two oldest can walk it under their own power.  These days....they can hike nearly everything...it's kinda amazing.


Once we get back to camp for dinner...we try to keep everything as normal as possible for the kids.  Normal routines are the key:  prep responsibilities are still in place, clean-up responsibilities are still in place, bed-times are still in place, etc.  We've found that when we keep the routines at least semi-normal we can last longer living outdoors. 



I love watching my kids get into camping.  They've been campaign their whole lives.  They know how to do it and do it well! 


...it's hard to believe that Elizabeth is going to be 8 at the end of the year!  She was 3 months old on her first climbing/camping trip to Lovers Leap in Tahoe, California.

These are good days! 



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