Area Closed – Personal Restoration in Progress

As you hike around Yosemite, especially in the highly trafficked areas of the Valley, you will often see areas closed off with a sign that says, “AREA CLOSED – Restoration In Progress.”

The caretakers of the park understand the need for rest…even for nature. For things to grow healthily, they need a time of rest. This is why God modeled a 7th day of rest after He created our world, and why He commanded His people to take Sabbath day and keep it holy. Whether or not we are to honor the Sabbath still need not be argued. We are still the same people God created, and the example was set by our Maker, so a Sabbath Principle is still wise to honor.


Even modern science confirms what God established long ago. God’s prized creation, people, function best with regular rest. But physical rest is not all that is needed. Spiritual rest is equally important. Too often we confuse our WORK for God as our RELATIONSHIP with God, and nothing could be further than the truth. While our service may draw us closer to God, and He delights in working with us, it is not our work He desires (or needs, to be quite honest!) It is fellowship with us. As long as our work is drawing us closer to God, it is in its proper place. Usually, early in ministry, this is natural. But once our work (even though we call it ‘ministry’) becomes a hindrance to our walk with God, due to busyness, pride, or any number of stumbling blocks, our work becomes something God is jealous of, for He misses us.

Perhaps it is time you put up a sign on Saturday, or your day off, or your evenings, or mornings (you work out the area with your Creator) and label it: AREA CLOSED – Restoration In Progress. Don’t let anyone or anything into that area, and let your soul be restored, no matter what the cost.

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2012 Yosemite Summit Report

Every year I say, “This was my favorite Summit to date,” and this year was my favorite again, by far! I made some key changes that I think made it extra special. The most strategic change was taking a much smaller group. This meant the Summit was full in December, so if you have been considering attending the Summit in the future, be sure to sign up right away when registration opens this fall. I anticipate it will fill up quickly again.

Don’t miss the Highlight Video at the end of this post!

It was also a great year for reasons beyond my control:  we had incredible weather, areas of the park were open that were never open the previous five years, and Glacier Point Road was open for the first time in three years. Even less tangible, the spirit and attitudes of the guys who came made for a very refreshing and renewing trip for me. I think the small group size played into that aspect of the week. Great friendships and life-long relationships have always been formed for each of the guys, but with a small group, we formed them with everyone, rather than separately. That was an extra blessing. Lastly, and ironically, with the weather being so perfect, the Park seemed nearly empty so we had incredible solitude. We even enjoyed having Glacier Point completely to ourselves, a location that is often crowded with people. Granted, we were there for the sunrise, but even as the sun rose, we enjoyed the complete serenity of having it all to ourselves. It was a gift from our Creator. On our hikes, we rarely, if ever, saw other Park visitors.

(Click on ANY image to view larger)

We began the Summit with the sunrise at Glacier Point. Words can’t even describe how majestic and fantastic and breathtaking this view of God’s Creation is. It is truly beyond description.

All we can really do when we are there and confronted with God’s Amazing Handiwork…is Worship Him.

The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
 They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.

Psalm 19:1-4

After the sun was up, we were ready to begin our first FULL day of hiking:  from Glacier Point, along the Panorama Trail, all the way to the top of Nevada Fall, to Vernal Fall, and down into the Valley. It averaged 125,000 steps per guy with an elevation drop of 3200 feet (not counting the ups and downs along the way). Together we hiked over 750,000 (3/4 million!) steps. Whew! No wonder we were sore back at the cabin later.

We stayed at a VERY nice lodge right in the heart of Yosemite National Park. If you are ever planning a trip to Yosemite, I highly recommend Scenic Wonders. It is located in an area called Yosemite West, right near the turn to Glacier Point Road, ten miles from the Valley, and has great access to the southern area of Yosemite as well. The next best areas are two hours outside the Park (or in the Valley, which are either very expensive or very yucky). Tell them Karl Bastian sent you!

We hadn’t done the Panorama Trail since Summit #1, and it is an incredible trail to do. It is long and hard work, but the views and vistas make it well worth it. The sights and sounds and animals we discovered along the way were simply incredible.

Some of the guys found very creative places to stop for a rest!

There were lots of times just to stop and enjoy the Word, reading and journaling too.

The next days took us on other hikes in Yosemite, including the Northern Tioga Pass area. There we hiked to Dog Lake where each of us sloit up for solitude time. Some of the guys even hiked to the point of Lambert Dome. (below)

Obviously, Yosemite is a beautiful place. But it’s not just the beauty. It’s the peacefulness that is there. It’s the getting away from all the noise of regular everyday life to a place where we can listen to God.

In the calmness found there, away from the noise of ministry and daily life, God is reflected in nature. I hear from the guys every year, “I can’t remember the last time I spent hours just alone with God, listening to Him. It’s so refreshing and so renewing. I just needed this.”

Yosemite is amazingly quiet. As we hiked, all we could hear was the wind, birds, distant water falls…and our thoughts. And into that quiet it’s like God can finally be heard.

Our cell phones didn’t ring. There was no e-mail. No meetings to run off to. No deadlines. We hardly stuck to a schedule. We left when we were ready, and we returned to the lodge when we reached the end of the trail. We cast off pressure. We stopped rushing and worrying about times. I didn’t even wear a watch. The sun was our only constraint – we aimed to be done with the trail before sunset.

Into that calm, God could finally speak. And be heard. We stopped stopping Him…bringing Him our plans and agendas and things we needed Him to approve or bless and staff or resources we needed him to provide, and instead we asked, “What’s on Your mind, Abba Father?”

And He Answered…

I coached the guys on how to listen to God in Yosemite, because it is very different every year for each guy. He spoke through His Word, through events, through their bodies, their spirits, through the things that they saw, experienced, and heard and by bringing back memories. I’d love to share stories of the amazing experiences and “ah ha” moments, of the ways God openned eyes and hearts during these Summits.

But unfortunately, what happened in Yosemite (what was said, what was shared) stays in Yosemite, and with each of the guys. We share a bond of trust and brotherhood that will last for a lifetime.

Yosemite reminded us to take the long view of our lives, to see our present struggles and circumstances in view of eternity. It gave us perspective that we could take back with us. Very often guys go home to trials they never knew were coming and I get the call or e-mail, “If I hadn’t been on Yosemite Summit, I never would have survived what was waiting for me when I got home.” God knew. And He sovereignly prepared them by having them come on this Summit so they could address the things we discussed and that He brought up with them in their private times with Him.

We all need “mountain top” experiences. They prepare us the for valleys that are to come. I am already praying for the men who will join me next year. I know some of them are reading this post. Yes, you…you may be joining me next year. Even you…the who is making excuses in your head…God is prompting you, isn’t He?

When I see the difference this Summit makes in the lives of men in ministry, I am amazed that there isn’t a waiting list every year. But the good news is, I’ve never had to turn anyone away. God has always brought together the right group of men – a Fellowship to hike and pray and live together for a short season and allow God to do a needed work in their lives, both separately and together.

Already, I can’t wait for Yosemite Summit 2013. Lord hasten the day!

 THE YOSEMITE SUMMIT 2012 HIGHLIGHT VIDEO:

Alternatively, you can DOWNLOAD THE VIDEO, (22.3MB  MP4)

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Goodbye World

Goodbye World!

No worries, this isn’t some final post as I depart to my final destination… just as I head off to Yosemite Summit for a week of 100% complete and total disconnect from work, e-mail, Twitter, Facebook and anything that distracts me from my relationship with God.

The 5th Annual Summit is Complete:

Meet: Tom, Travis, Alan, Johnny and Tim. The gang has met up in Sacramento and fellowshiped at the Official California #Kidmin Hangout:

The super observant notice my Panda Express, I already had In-N-Out twice as guys arrived, and the Holy Spirit (or my cardiologist) would not allow me to eat it three meals in a row!

Two of them had their FIRST In-N-Out Burger:

Tim's first In-N-Out burger! #yosemitesummit #kidmin  on Twitpic Johnny's first In-N-Out Burger! #yosemitesummit #kidmin  on Twitpic

We have shopped till we dropped, chilled in the hot tub, and eaten out at the mall, but in the morning, all the tweeting and facebooking and crazy pole pics come to an end. (See more pics on the my Twitpic Page)

WHY?

Yosemite Summit is not a conference. It is the UNconference for men in ministry because it is a break from ministry. As it’s description says, there is:

No Workshops – Just Worship
No Resources – Just Relationships
No Networking – Just God Working

My inbox is still full. My voice mail is still full. And I have lots of stuff still unchecked on my to-do lists. But Yosemite Summit is my annual time to just walk away from it all, and simply Walk with God. (literally and figuratively.)

It is when I show Him tangibly that He is more important than all the “stuff” I do for Him and I spend time just being with Him. It is when I show that I mean it when I say He is more important than anything or anyone else. It is how I show that I’d walk away from it all for Him – by doing just that once a year, for an entire week. Just dropping it all… as it is. Undone, uncompleted, unneat and untiddy and just let it lie… as it is. My office is just as thought I got up and walked out, because I did. I just go. I’m never ready for the Summit. It just finally comes, and I just go. Just like that. If I waited until I was ready, it would never happen.

If you e-mail me, you’ll get a polite auto-reply. I will DELETE all e-mail accounts from my iPhone and MacBook Air. They won’t even exist here in CA a few minutes after I post this. I only have my Air for downloading pictures each evening. That’s it.

I’m firing myself from my job. I won’t think about it for an entire week. I’ve had people say that must be hard for me. There was a time when it would have been. It’s actually quite easy for me now. Because my identity is no longer my work. There was a time when it was. But I’ve gotten over that. So I can turn it off and on as needed. And as soon as I hit publish on this post… it’s off.

And I’ll just be Karl: Child of God. Sara’s husband and Luke’s dad. Nothing more.

The rest that I am and do will be back in a week. Until then…

CHECK OUT THE GUYS I’VE SHARED THIS EXPERIENCE WITH THE PAST FOUR YEARS AND CLICK ON THE PICTURE FOR A REPORT, HIGHLIGHT PHOTOS AND VIDEO: (I’ll update this post with the sign pic from this year when I return.)

2008

2009:

2010:

2011:

Will you be in the 2013 picture?

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I Can Hardly Wait

Karl, on the Panorama Trail, 2008

Tomorrow it will be May…and that means the 5th annual Yosemite Summit will finally be upon me. And while I say it every year, I need it this year more than ever. It’s been an extremely busy year. You can tell partly from the lack of posts to this blog! I’m glad the Summit filled up early, as I’ve not even had to time to promote it. I’ve written many times on this site why I do this Summit, this UNconference, but it bears repeating. I do this Summit because I’m lousy at “slowing down.” I’m kinda like a locomotive:  I gradually keep speeding up throughout the year. If I don’t STOP, I get going too fast. Yosemite Summit is my annual “Spiritual Pit Stop.” It’s when I reflect, pray, listen, meditate, and reconnect with God in a way and depth not possible throughout the year. And I invite a small, select group of men to join me. It is healing. It is refreshing. It is renewing. It is rejuvenating. It is refocusing. It is redefining. It is just what I need every year. Without it, I would get very cranky and empty. (If you’ve never read: Running on Empty: Contemplative Spirituality for Overachievers, you should.)

This year one of my regular Summiteers is leading his own retreat the week before mine, so Yosemite Summit is reproducing itself. Even more men are going to be unplugging from normal busy life and ministry to reconnect with God and realign themselves with the way things ought to be.

I’m really excited that for the first time in three years, Glacier Point Road is already open. This means that for only the second time since starting the Summit, our guys will get to hike the spectacular Panorama Trail! We did this hike on Year One. I skipped it on Year Two for variety sake, opting instead to do some other hikes and planning to do it on Year Three, but Glacier Point was closed. Then last year, Year Four, it was closed again! Of course, there are plenty of amazing hikes in Yosemite, but I’ve been dying to do this hike again, as it covers the entire perimeter of the Valley and ends by descending the Mist Trail (which we still did on those other years hiking up, and then down via the John Muir Trail past Clark’s Point.)

If you are a man in ministry (I no longer limit the Summit to children’s pastors, by the way) and this Summit resonates with you, please prayerfully consider joining me next year. I open registration in September, and it fills up in just a few months. So be watching for the information in August and for registration to open in September. While it is open to any man in ministry, is is especially for those who are worn out, hurting, running on empty,or going through a difficult time in ministry. It was born out of that kind of season in my life. So I’ve been there.

It is a brotherhood of men hiking together and learning together and praying together and growing together.

ALL FOR ONE – and ONE FOR ALL!

Maybe I’ll be hiking with you next year?

 

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Yosemite Summit 2012 Full; Waiting List Opens

Yosemite Summit 2012 is now full. That doesn’t mean an opening couldn’t open up, occasionally things happen where an attendee can’t come and cancels in the last month – so if you would like to come, I would still recommend you make a deposit and register so that if an opening is freed up last minute due to any changes, you can in “in line” to attend. See complete Waiting List details.

But as of now, Yosemite Summit 2012 is already fully booked!

Looking forward to what God has in store for the guys He has brought together for this unique year. I’m taking a smaller group for this 5th year – no massive van, a new cabin, and some new ideas He has impressed upon me. It will be especially fresh for two repeat guys who are coming back.

Appreciate your  prayer for this event in the coming months.

 

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Yosemite Summit 2012 Registration OPEN

Only a few will go in 2012.

Only a few will enjoy the vast views of Yosemite.

Only a few will be shown how to discover the quiet trails.

Only a few will be a part of Yosemite Summit 2012.

I introduced my son to Yosemite this summer

Registration is OPEN for Yosemite Summit 2012, but if you are observant, you will notice – I have not posted this year now many may attend. As I am praying about closing it early this year and taking a smaller more intimate group for this fifth Summit. So I will be closing registration once God tells me “that’s enough.” I’ve booked a smaller lodge and I may only rent an SUV instead of the usual 15 passenger van… and lowered the price… all that to say… you shouldn’t procrastinate if you have been putting this off for years.

AND I have opened it to ANY men in full time ministry, not just children’s pastors.

So curious who God will bring for a week of renewal
and spiritual healing in May 2012.

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2012 Summit Lodge Booked!

Yosemite Escape

It’s official… I have booked the Lodge for 2012, and just for fun and variety, I have booked a new one for the 5th Summit. There will be some thoughtful changes in 2012. Registration will open very soon. First of all, it will be open to any men in ministry, Secondly, it will be a smaller more intimate group. Thirdly, the smaller group means the cost drops as well. If you haven’t seen it, check out the 2011 Report.

Yosemite Summit 2012

May 20-24, 2012 – Sunday to Thursday
(Travel days Saturday & Friday before and after)

The rest of the website has NOT been updated yet. This is just an announcement on the dates for next year and that there WILL BE a Yosemite Summit 2012. Stay Tuned and start to pray about whether YOU will be one of the guys God is calling to join me next year.

 

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2011 Yosemite Summit Report

The fact that I am writing my Yosemite Summit 2011 Report at the end of August that took place in May should tell you exactly WHY I do Yosemite Summit in the first place, though I’ve blogged here about that several times already:

Others have written as well about why they went to Yosemite Summit. I’ll link those another time perhaps, but you can just click through the archives. But the reality is, my life is BUSY. Don’t get me wrong – I’m doing things I love pursuing my life Mission, but if I didn’t schedule Yosemite Summit, I’d never STOP and GET AWAY and enjoy time with some guys who love God like me and just UNPLUG and enjoy nature and fellowship like you just can’t get in the hectic pace of normal life. I’m never “ready” for Yosemite Summit – it just comes, and I have to just GO. And when I get back, I have to dive in and pick up where I left off and getting this report done and a highlight video done can be a real challenge with Kidology.org to run, DiscipleTown to write and other responsibilities all while keeping my family first. (And some new and exciting things in development!)

It’s truly a gift I give myself every year that I plan to give myself for the rest of my life. AND a gift I am excited to ANNOUNCE that I am going to extend starting in 2012 to ANY MAN IN MINISTRY. No longer will Yosemite Summit be limited to children’s pastors. God has laid it on my heart that I shouldn’t be limiting this event to children’s pastors. I will explain this in more detail in a future post when registration opens and how the application process will work. But I have heard and listened and responded and God has answered your prayers, guys! On to the report.

Yosemite Summit 2011

This was the fourth Summit – and since 4 has been my favorite number since I was a kid, I anticipated it being my favorite Summit so far. I also had the advantage of three past Summits under my belt, so I am able to enjoy them even more now as I am less figuring them out and more just repeating what I’ve done in the past, though every year is unique and has aspects that make it special. This year was no exception. I especially enjoyed that this year we didn’t have to alter plans at all due to weather, which was a treat.

The newest thing this year was I made a photo journal for the guys for them to use throughout the week with color photos from past years, space to journal in and scripture to read and reflect on according to the theme of the day. Our reflective theme this year was P.A.T.H. which provided our focus for each day:

P = Peace

A = Abiding

T = Thankfulness

H = Holiness

We had a wonderful time hiking, enjoying fellowship with each other, and spending some quality time with God, the Creator of this incredible place. If you have never been to Yosemite National Park – you are truly robbing yourself of one of America’s hidden treasures. It remained hidden from the “white man” long after San Fransisco had been founded and the Ahwahnee Indians managed to divert (or at times kill) travelers over the Sierra Nevada mountains away from this this incredible valley in order to keep it a secret. It was not until the time of President Abraham Lincoln that it was finally discovered, and while Yellowstone was the first “official” National Park, Yosemite was the first land protected by a President when Abe himself declared it protected land for the people forever!

Millions travel from all over the world to behold the wonders of this relatively small valley (only seven miles in length) but only mere thousands experience the hikes that take visitors to the truly beautiful locations hidden in this gordeous place, and only Yosemite Summiteers (who stick with me on the hikes) get to see the truly hidden wonders of this magnificent park. I know the trails that many neglect and that the masses miss, and the hidden spots off the trails where one can find solitude and solace and spectacular views of God’s Creation. (I took my family to Yosemite in July and enjoyed showing my son some of “Daddy’s Spots” and Luke created a few spots of his own that we will visit again in future years!)

In case you are wondering what can be experienced on Yosemite Summit, instead of a long detailed report, as I have done in 2008, and 2009, and 2010. This year, I offer simply one word summaries of what can be experienced at Yosemite Summit and suggest if you are not one of the eight men who join me. You are truly missing out. I have no need to twist your arm. Those who join me, are the lucky ones. I already have next year almost full from the e-mails I have been getting already. So if you want to join me, you’d better sign up as soon as registration opens. It’s THAT good. I expect a waiting list in 2012. It can change your life.

Yosemite 2011: In photos and one word summaries: (Don’t Miss the Video at the End!)

ACCOMPLISHMENT

AMAZING

AWE

BEARS

BEAUTY

BRIDGES

CONTEMPLATION

DEEP THINKING 😉

FELLOWSHIP

FUN!

JOURNEY

PEACEFUL

POWER

REFRESHING

RESTFUL

UNINTERUPTED

WONDER

WORSHIP

Do these images whet you appetite for Yosemite Summit? It is truly an event that is difficult to describe, even with words or images – or even with video, but I’ll try yet again…

HIGHLIGHT VIDEO:

If you have any questions about Yosemite Summit, I invite you to ask in this thread in my forum on Kidology.org, and I’ll be happy to answer. Basic Registration on Kidology.org is free to participate, however, Premium Membership to Kidology is required to attend the Summit.

Maybe YOU will be one of us next year?

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Yosemite Safe Despite Tragic Deaths

Vernal Falls from Panorama Trail (Click to View Larger)

This is the second time I have been in Yosemite National Park when people have died on the Mist Trail. This past week, I have received so many e-mails and calls from concerned family and friends who heard about there being three deaths in Yosemite, since my family of three was there. I appreciated the concern, but we were safe. I wanted to answer, “We obey the rules.” Not to be trite or insensitive, but because when these tragedies occur they often unfairly cause people to see Yosemite as an unsafe place, when it isn’t. What it is, is a place that must be respected.

Now I must pause, and say something else – I am deeply saddened by these deaths. I grieve for the families, the loss of life – and hurt for those who are hurting right now. I have lost sleep over this. I know the place where this happened VERY well, so my dreams are vivid and I can picture the entire scene all too well. I am also angry with the heartless and cruel comments I am reading on many blogs and Yosemite websites that are downright mean – these people died as a result of foolish choices, yes, but not because of stupidity, and they did not “have it coming” nor do they deserve Darwin awards and the like. We all have made foolish and careless decisions in our lives – most behind the wheel of our cars – most do not cost us our life. So while this was a tragedy, it was not an accident. And while it was completely avoidable, sympathy for both the victims and those who loved them is in order, just as we’d want if someone we loved did something foolish and paid so dearly for it.

Nevertheless, there is a lesson for us all, in this. I’m not going to go into details of the events that occurred, other than are necessary for my point in posting about it. There are conflicting reports online – some sites have event edited there earlier reports, in part for accuracy, in part to spin it more kindly toward the victims as time goes by, which is understandable. The initial reports, I believe, were probably the most accurate in this case, though that isn’t always the case, since they were eye witnesses, I tend to believe the longer eye witness reports I read, though most of the reports have been shortened now.

Me on the Final Climb to the Top of Vernal Falls

To give you an idea of the environment – people have asked about the guard rail, here is what the setting looks like. They went over the guard rail 25 feet up from the ledge. It can be deceptively calm and there can be solid dry rock over the rail and the water can look calm. But the flow on the surface can be deceiving. And the depth can drop quickly as you move out. This picture was taken with a zoom lens from Clark’s Point, which is pretty far away, but up and across from Vernal Fall:

Here is the entire fall, zoomed back:

As you can see, it is not a fall you should be anywhere near the water. It is a fall that deserved fear in the biblical sense as well as literal. Here is what is important – those who perished, especially the first two, crossed a guard rail at the top of a very high and dangerous fall that was clearly marked so:

The Sign at Top of Vernal Falls (I took this)

TEXT ON SIGN: (or click to read)

Watch your step near the water.
The rocks are deceptively slippery.

Stay out of the water upstream from the falls.

If you lose your footing, powerful currents
will carry you over the falls.
There’s no second chance.

They ignored this sign, and then waded out into the water (repeatedly actually) ignoring the cries of other hikers to come back in order to get a picture, one slipped, then the next fell trying to help the first, and they fell in together. The third entered when trying to assist the first two. The rest is sad history. I won’t go into other details, you can use Google if you want to. They are tough details to read. I want to be sensitive my readers.

Vernal and Nevada Falls at Beginning of Panorama Trail

Everyone at Yosemite wants a great picture, but there are plenty of great pictures to get without risking your life. In pictures like this one above taken on Yosemite Summit – we enjoy taking pictures that “look” dangerous, when in fact, there was a meadow behind this boulder that slowly cascaded down the hill – though the picture looks like I am on top of a rock at the edge of a cliff! There are others as well, more humorous, but due to the sadness of this event, I won’t post them here. (Vernal Fall is the lower fall to the left of me.)

In the 600+ page “Off the Wall: Death in Yosemite,” which I have read to be prepared to keep my Yosemite Summit guys safe, most deaths are climbing related (we don’t climb), and of the rest nearly all of them are completely the result of carelessness on the part of the person who died or someone with them. So in answer to the question, “Why do you do a retreat in Yosemite when people die there?” My answer is, people don’t die there unless they make foolish choices – we won’t. You are probably safer in Yosemite than you are driving home from work. I tell the guys in our orientation, quite seriously, people do die in Yosemite every year. You have to take that seriously. BUT you can simply choose you won’t be one of them.

  • Over 4,000,000 people visit the park every year. Millions drive home alive. You’ll more likely win the lottery than die in Yosemite.
  • Over 2,000 hike the Mist Trail DAILY, only a dozen or so have died sine 1948.

You do the math. You almost have to try to die. In other words, you have to do something foolish. Granted, you can’t avoid lightening (I know that!) but you can avoid most other things, if you are being wise and careful, and for the most part, sticking to the trail or to solid ground.

So, if you are considering coming to Yosemite Summit (or more likely, your husband is and you are concerned about his safety) please know, that Yosemite Summit is safe. We hike the trails, we use common sense, and we plan to come home to our wives and kids who we love very much. We all agree at the beginning that we will speak up if we see anyone doing anything we consider unsafe, and obey a request of another to not do anything anyone else feels is unsafe, even if we disagree. Our safety motto is WWWS, “What Would (my) Wife Say?” any time we are in doubt about climbing up or out on something for a picture. (It was WWSS the first year, “What Would Sara Say?”)

Yes, the deaths in Yosemite are tragic, and we grieve for the families and their loss. Our prayers go out to them. Reportedly, these three were Christians, that gives us extra hope. But their deaths do not make Yosemite unsafe – their deaths make foolish choices unsafe, wherever they are made, in Yosemite, in your work place, behind the wheel of your car. Life is precious and fragile.

Be careful, friends, people love you. See ya in Yosemite!

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Home from the Summit

Yosemite Summit Guys 2011

This isn’t the “Official” report – I have thousands of photos (and video clips) to sort through and a highlight video to create for that – BUT I wanted to at least let y’all know I made it back alive and we had another great UNconference in Yosemite National Park!

Despite some negative weather forecasts, we had actually perhaps the best weather of all four years – maybe tied with year #1, though that was a bit warm, so I think the best weather of all four years for hiking. That was fantastic!

Just for fun, Pat arrived a day early to help me shop for all the food. Here he is at Costco in Sacramento:

BEFORE:

AFTER:

And that is even before the Super Wal-Mart trip for the stuff Costco doesn’t sell! It takes a lot to feed a lodge full of hungry hikers! (And we eat well!)

Soon we were all gathered and ready to head to Yosemite… all but one Californian who was meeting up with us farther South.

Soon we were off! It was a great four hour drive getting to know each other, and the guys had absolute trust in my driving abilities and attention to all the laws of the road:

(For the record, I AM parked legally, but it’s a great picture snapped
by Scott Dodson before I knew why he asked me to look!)

If you are wondering if the trip was refreshing – this next picture is proof that it is… we DRINK UP YOSEMITE:

Michael Murphy drinking from Bridalveil Falls

This place is so in-tune with God, it seemed, even the animals were praising God:

Photo by Doug McKinney

I look forward to sharing more about this years Summit after I take some time to pray and reflect and journal and soak in the impact of this fourth time of turning off my busy electronic life for nearly a week and just enjoying some time in God’s Awesome Creation for a few days. Of course, everything back home piled up and now I have some catching up to do! To make matters worse, I got some really serious food poisoning on Sunday which put me on my deathbed all through the Memorial Day weekend so I feel even farther behind than I would have been with the long weekend to unpack and do some catching up before the work week got here – but such is life!

How are YOU like a Water Fall?

While you await the full report, I’ll share one insight with you that was actually shared during the week by one of the guys in our evenings of sharing after a day of hiking. Doug noted that in the path of our life there are a lot of obstacles and problems that get in our way and cause of frustration and disappointment and can irritate us or cause us to have to reroute our path or change our plans when we would rather things go smoothly. But as he was watching these majestic waterfalls come pouring over the cliffs and down the mountainsides and crashing along the river banks – it was actually the rocks and boulders and trees – the OBSTACLES in the waters path that make the waterfall and the river so majestic to watch. Were the waterfall and the path that followed at the bottom smooth it wouldn’t be as spectacular to view. It is actually the obstacles that give the falls and the rivers their character. Interesting – the flaws are what give the character. The same is true with is. Our character is developed through the obstacles in our lives. If God were to give us a smooth life, without problems, bumps and obstacles, what would grow our character?

So the next time you see a big boulder up ahead – instead of being frustrated or complaining – realize God is just forming you into a majestic testimony of his power and grace that other might be able to point to – even snap pictures of – and say, “Wow, there IS a Creator, and doesn’t He create the most Beautiful Things!”

We called this our “Album Cover”

NOTE: All images in this post can be clicked on to view larger.

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