Welcome to the first Kidology Update here on my blog. With the launch of the new Kidology.org, I now have a Kidology Update section right on the homepage of Kidology.org. These weekly updates will appear both here on my blog under the Kidology Update category as well as on the home page of Kidology.org. This way, they are archived here on my blog in addition to providing a way to comment on them. I am excited to be able to have some space on Kidology’s home page to provide a “personal touch” from me – something folks have asked for as Kidology has grown. Just wanted to explain the Kidology Update to my blog readers.
Now on to the first Kidology Update:
We are excited to finally launch our brand new Kidology.org website! In addition to an exciting new look, we have made the home page more powerful than ever before! You can now see quickly what is new in our idea-packed Zones, in the Forum, Job Center, Resource Directory, Garage Sale, Store, and more! Whereas in the past you needed to scroll down the entire homepage to see all the news items, they now are available at the top of the site where they automatically scroll through each, or you can choose the one you are looking for by clicking on Stories.
See What’s New on Kidology.org for a complete description of the changes that have just taken place!
I’m very excited to also have this prominent place on the home page to add a “personal touch” to highlight the things I am most excited about each week. This “From the Kidologist” area is a duplication of posts to my blog under the Kidology Updates category. You’ll be able to comment on these posts over on my blog as well as read past entries in case you missed it, or are looking for something I mentioned in a previous post.
And DON’T MISS the two “WebOuts” found on the What is Kidology? page and Who is Karl?
If you aren’t a member of Kidology.org, JOIN TODAY so you don’t miss out on all the new stuff. There’s more, but I’ll save that for the next update!
Don’t miss the video at the end of this post!
I’m still feeling the effects of Yosemite Summit 2009. It is difficult to describe this event to someone who has not gone; it is truly a wonderful trip on so many fronts. But it is my prayer that some descriptions, some pictures, quotes from the guys and a video might help you get a glimpse of the unique experience Yosemite Summit is for the guys who take the time away from ministry to invest in their walk with God and a few other good men who share their passion for children’s ministry.
After the neat group of guys God brought together for the first Summit, I honestly was a little worried that the second year might feel different, but again God brought together a group of men who all got along great and seemingly instantly we were like old friends. I now get to pray the same for 2010!
There is simply no way to describe the grandeur of the vistas at Yosemite National Park. Pictures can’t even come close to capturing the awe of looking out from one vista to another across the sprawling valley below. It is like you can reach out and touch the presence of God.
One of the highlights of Yosemite Summit is getting some time alone in magnificent places to think, pray and journal your thoughts. All the usual distractions of life are hundreds of miles away… and somehow God’s voice is just so much clearer, if not louder.
Thanks so much for an awesome week! It was a real joy to hike with fellow CPs. I was blessed by each guy sharing each night and energized by the encouragement and new ideas shared. The spiritual challenges from Karl, were spot on and a great tool for God to work in my life. I look forward to continuing our new friendships. God Bless each one of you and may your lives and families and ministries never be the same!
We often were together as we hiked, but then had times to split up for some solo time as well. The balance between fellowship and solitude is not managed strictly, but seems to just naturally unfold as we hike at different paces, regroup at the most spectacular sites, and gather for meals along the trails.
How do you describe the feeling of standing at the top of a mountain? While we always stayed a safe distance from truly deadly or dangerous drop offs, you are often near places where the ground soon gives way to sky where hawks and eagles drift by. To be looking straight across at a water fall that is pouring hundreds of feet to a valley below you is awe-inspiring. While the falls seem distant, often you can still hear their roar as they crash into rocks thousands of feet away below and across the valley.
While much of what is experienced in Yosemite remains here or in our memories, the time invested in journaling helps take much of what God stirs within us back home. I love rereading from my Yosemite journal and then closing my eyes and remembering the place where I wrote those words.
Yosemite Summit met all my expectations and I came away feeling like it was one of the best things I could have done for my relationship with the Lord and my ministry. I love the idea of allowing retreat, re-create times to rekindle my love for God, my family and my ministry.
Because of today’s technology, it is wonderful to be able to have worship music playing in head phones as we hiked, journals, or just relaxed. At other times, walking in silence and allowing God’s creation to be the sound track was equally beautiful. With the distant roar of countless water falls, the chirping of birds, rustling of leaves and the occasional scurry of an animal broken only by the steady plodding of our footsteps, Creation offered us the most fitting background music.
I never in all my 20+ years of ministry had taken a “real” break away where I could focus on my relationship with Christ. Because of my time at Yosemite, I have committed that I would take a break regularly because of the impact this has had on my ministry, family and my relationship with Jesus. Yosemite Summit gave me the opportunity to refresh my soul, to renew my spirit and to come back home with a new resolve to fall in love with Jesus more, to serve him with a wiser focus and to honor him with the way I lead my family and my ministry. – Tom
I loved seeing the guys relaxing and can’t help wondering, how often do they truly get to relax back home – where they totally and completely let go of everything and just enjoy the presence of God?
There is nothing like the opportunity to get away, on your own, with no distractions while you listen to God’s voice. The memory will not quickly fade. Jesus made many different times to get away. He even took 40 days before beginning his ministry. How much more do we need to get away and just be with God? Yosemite Summit is this strategic opportunity. – Steve
One of the ways I worship is through the lens of my camera. While no film can capture the majesty of this place, it sure is fun trying. At least you get to take glimpses of it home to enjoy over and over again. Around every turn is yet another “perfect shot” that for some segments of the trip, I had to simply put my camera away and soak it in knowing that being there is better than any picture from there.
While we don’t do any ‘real’ climbing with ropes and gear, there are plenty of rocks that whisper, “Climb me!” And once ascended offer either a better view, or simply a satisfying feeling of having accomplished something worth relaxing and soaking in.
Nothing makes the heart pound like being near the edge of a cliff. And while our wives may fear our curiosity, we were always safe and looked out for each other. But nevertheless, sitting near an edge is a profound way to realize one’s humanity and to appreciate every day God grants us to worship and serve Him!
One of the highlights of Yosemite Summit is a hike that will most likely be included every year, the Mist Trail. There is a stretch where you’d get drenched to the bone if you didn’t wear a poncho! The mist from the thundering waterfall becomes so thick it is almost blinding and the sound of the water fall thrilling. Plus, realizing you will soon be standing at the top at the very edge (behind a railing!) makes the countless stone stairs worth every step.
This is Taft Point, one of the highest vista look out points in Yosemite (and one of the few with a railing) where you can peer straight down over 3500 feet! It was while hiking back from here that I was nearly stuck by lightening in a hail storm that rushed in on us!
The time away at the Yosemite Summit gave me the encouragement I needed, the time I needed to confront the hard issues I had been pushing back, and the conviction to embrace who I truly am in God’s eyes.
Yosemite Summit is an event that will recharge you as a child of God, a husband of your wife and a father of your children. The investment is worth it because the event will impact your walk with God and your relationship with your wife and kids. I can tell you that this single week will have an impact on the rest of my life.
Yosemite Summit 2009 may be over, but it’s impact will last a life time. It is now time to start praying about whether God would have you join us for Yosemite Summit 2010!
Yosemite Summit was a huge blessing and a very worthwhile investment in helping me be refreshed in my relationship with God and helping to keep me centered in my relationships with my wife, kids and my church. Walking by yourself part of a day through towering Sequoia trees praying to God and enjoying his handiwork after having spent time being encourage by and with 8 Christian guys is priceless! – Scotty H.
2009 Highlight Video:
The song in the video is Stop the World, by Matthew West, on the CD Something To Say
Hard to believe it’s been TEN YEARS that I’ve been speaking at Camp Timber-lee – since 1999. While I’ve taken a few summers off, I’ve made up for it by speaking several weeks during a few of the summers, so I’ve spoken here at least ten times, if not more. Every time is an awesome experience! I leave every year praying I’ll be invited back! I just love the kids here and their eagerness to learn and the energy with which they soak up the teaching. I try to make the Chapels as fun and life-changing as possible. What a gift to get to creatively open the Word every morning and evening for an entire week!
If you are a camper or camper parent, ToyBoxTales.com is the site your kids are probably looking for, though you are welcome to follow my blog as well!
Here are some photo highlights from Timber-lee 2009:
Happy Campers! Mom and Luke!
Luke, me and Tricia!
This year was extra special because it was the first year for my neice and nephew to come to camp! I got to hang out with Parker when he did the High Ropes:
Parker ready to climb!
Parker leaving the earth behind him! (well, below him anyway)
While this was Luke’s third time to camp, it was the first where he could really enjoy it, and we so loved letting him roam and explore!
Luke out discovering God’s Big World!
Snacks on a boat!
Cookies with Dad
Finding a wheel bigger than you!
Getting to pet animals.
and throwing leaves!
BUT BEST OF ALL:
Playing in the dirt!
See the mud, Mom!?!
Oh, and meeting a sweet girl named Emily… oh boy, camp crushes already!
Well, time for me to go enjoy the final dinner and evening chapel with camp fire! If you have kids, you should REALLY consider Camp Timber-lee, no matter how far away you live from Easy Troy, Wisconsin!
Well, I was going to keep this kinda quiet… but word is getting out about my electrifying experience with lightening in Yosemite and the pressure for me to tell the “full story” is increasing, so I’m giving in hoping this doesn’t discourage anyone from coming to Yosemite Summit in the future!
The question I keep getting is, “Were you really struck by lightening at Yosemite?” Well, since I’m typing this from my current location on earth (rather than heaven) the technical answer is, NO! But… I was in the middle of a strike that hit trees all around me and there is that mysterious jagged hole in my poncho to account for! So when I posted on Twitter and Facebook that my most exciting experience at Yosemite was being struck by lightening… it wasn’t much of a stretch!
So here’s the story! We started out Day One with a spectacular all day hike that began at Sentinel Dome, where the view is absolutely breath-taking. Here we all are on the top of Sentinel Dome:
After our chapel time and quiet times alone, we took the Ponomo Trail, a little traveled segment of a longer trail, in order to loop around through the woods and then to the edge of Upper Yosemite at the top of Sentinel Fall. Here we are at the top:
Yes, I photo-shopped myself into this picture, since I took it! You can’t see the water fall in this picture, because, well, we are above it, BUT you can see we are higher than El Capitan in the background! O.K., here is a picture of the falls… as close to it as I wanted to get:
It’s hard to tell in the picture how HIGH we are, but that is the valley below, some 3000+ feet below! Here is a view of it (from Google images) from the bottom, it cascades for awhile before it final long drop to the valley floor:
Next we left the sunny warm open areas and entered into a forest where the temperatures were still cool and snow was still on the ground!
We forged rivers… (OK, one creek)
and finally all arrived at Taft Point at different times since the group spread out over time depending on their hiking pace and whether they constantly stopped to take pictures. Which is why I usually am one of the last to arrive at the meeting spots. Taft Point is simply amazing!
Taft Point is one of the highest places that has a STRAIGHT DOWN view, over 3500 feet. (hard to see in this photo, but there is one of the few railings in all of Yosemite at the very tip where you see the guys standing!)
I know, I know… what about the LIGHTENING!? I just want to make sure you know, it’s not like we just went to Yosemite and got attacked by lightening, it was a spectacular day… with an even more spectacular ending! So, on to the lightening…
Here’s me at Taft Point, in what very well could have been the last picture of me ever taken! It indeed was the last picture of me that day! By the time I got to Taft Point, we had started to see some clouds appearing East of us toward Half Dome and heard some thunder in the distance. It is a known fact for Yosemite hikers, that being out on large open granite surfaces is not safe if lightening is even remotely possible, as the lightening, being unable to absorb into the rock, will travel across the surface at, well, lightening speed, until it finds grounding. Being in the path of that lightening is, well, let’s just say, not recommended. Oh, and Taft Point is a huge open granite area, oh, and with a metal railing at the highest point!
As the leader of the expedition, and taking our group’s safety seriously, as soon as I got to Taft Point, I called out to the guys that we needed to leave and skipped going up to the point myself even though I’d hiked all day with this being the final destination. But there was another “final destination” I wasn’t interested in reaching today, if possible. Let me say for all the wives reading this – the group was not in any danger at this point, but we weren’t going to stick around until we were!
We regrouped, counted to nine (something we did often!) and once we knew the entire group was accounted for, headed back to the van. At this point, due to the loop we were doing, we were only about a mile and a half from the van. We headed back, and over the course of that last segment, the group spread out again until six were back at the van and I had two guys with me. About half way to the van the rain started, and by the time we got near the parking lot it was pouring HAIL. Seriously! We went from a beautiful sunny day with clear skies to rain and hail!
AND NOW THE EXCITING PART! (you skipped to here, didn’t you?)
Because the trail was blocked by a creek and in the rain we didn’t want to walk across the log that would normally be the easy way across, the three of us headed down river a bit until we could find some rocks in the creek that were high enough to cross over. I went first, called out to the two guys behind me that I’d found an easy way across, and then headed up toward the road. I could see that I was about 200 feet from the road, and gathered that the parking lot was probably another 200-300 feet up the road. I was almost out of the storm and into the van! I was feeling bad knowing that the six ahead of me were locked out of the van in this hail, but fortunately they had found a small pavilion to huddle under.
At this point everything is both fuzzy and crystal clear – don’t ask me to explain that – but as soon as I reached the road and started to walk toward the van – IT HAPPENED. It is difficult to describe. The words I have to use don’t do it justice. But there was this incredible NOISE – yes, an explosion, all around me. Scared is not the word. I was beyond scared, but only for a nano-second, honestly. It was like I was so terrified in that instant as I had no idea what was happening – I just froze – then I saw red billowing flames ahead of me followed by a pillar of smoke of biblical proportions and realized that lightening had struck VERY close. For the next few seconds, I wondered if I was dead. That sounds strange, but I just had a stent put in my heart a month before, and had been given the OK to go to Yosemite via stress test, but in that frozen moment, I wondered, “If your heart stops, do you feel it?” I couldn’t feel anything anywhere in that moment, so I wondered, “Do you die instantly, or do I have a minute to soak in life?” It was literally just a few seconds and I could feel that I was truly was OK and not about to keel over. I heard the guys behind me calling out to me and asking if I was OK. I heard them, but was still in shock (no pun intended) so while I answered, I knew they couldn’t hear my soft answer. When I could, I yelled that I was OK, and we’d better get to the van as fast as possible. I was finally able to look away from the explosion that was still smoking and noticed wood fragments were scattered everywhere, I instinctively reached down and picked up the piece at my feet before starting toward the van, the last two guys were now with me.
Yes, I thought of taking pictures or grabbing my video camera. No, I didn’t!
When I was walking toward the van my head was down and I noticed that there was a huge jagged hole in my poncho. Was I struck by lightening?!?!? It was a brand new poncho and it had been fine before the lightening strike! It was then that I realized my leg hurt a little. Not much, but like I’d been hit. We got to the van and I just handed the key over and asked another guy to drive, I was still kinda in shock. (not literally!) I was wearing zip off pants that convert to shorts so I unzipped them to look where my leg hurt, and there on my leg was a bruise – not huge, but clearly new. (I took a picture, but I’m sparing you that!) I looked at the wood in my hand and realized I must have been hit with “shrapwood” from the exploding tree! (Later, when putting my PJ’s on, I was to discover multiple bruises, I had been hit in several places by flying wood!)
The conversation in the van was charged with excitement. This was both exciting and sobering. Debate broke out on where the lightening struck, and how close it was to me. The guys by the van saw it hit much higher and farther away than I described. The guys behind me described it as being even closer to me than I thought. It was a bit of a puzzle, but we were curious, so we decided to return the next day to investigate.
The following morning was our sunshine at Glacier Point, which just happens to be a mile or so farther down the road than where we had parked the van the day before. It was pitch black out when we drove by so we couldn’t see anything.
After an awe-inspiring time at Glacier Point and our chapel time, we headed back to to the cabin to pack up for our hike that would begin in the valley today… but not without stopping first at the scene of the crime from yesterday:
Of course, I wanted to go back to the very spot I had been standing when the lightening struck! It felt kinda wierd to revisit the spot. My foot prints were visible and it appeared, that contrary to what I remembered, I had actually moved backward 4-5 feet reacting to the explosion, judging by the foot prints and dug in impressions that matched my shoes. (We were all acting like CSI guys!) Most of the wood debre was now gone, either washed away in the storm, or perhaps cleaned up off the road, but as I was standing in “the spot,” someone pointed out the large piece of tree that was lying RIGHT NEXT to where I had been standing!
It may go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway… what if THIS ‘stick’ had hit me? In a very large area, on BOTH sides of the road, wood scraps lay everywhere.
Not all of it was on the ground, some was up in trees:
Look a little closer, that’s not a twig!
As we walked up and down the hill, it turned out ALL the reports in the van were correct, as lightening had struck several trees, on all sides of me, in an area probably more than 50 feet circle.
This is the tree that I saw on fire and whose fragments probably hit me. It doesn’t look like much damage to the tree from here, but up close it’s kinda crazy…
Wood was ripped off these trees so fast and so hard that branches still stuck out in places like rebar from concrete! And the parts of the trees that were damaged spiraled from top to bottom, so it was hard to get a picture of all the damage.
Here you can kinda see how the damage spirals toward the top of the tree! And there is another 8 feet below and up higher on the other side toward the top!
Hard to even image the POWER of something that can rip through a tree like this!
Matt McDaniels holds up a massive segment of a tree he found… yeah, I know.
Me and my tree. Wow.
Well, what can I say? Yosemite Summit was a blast. Can’t wait until next year. Statistically, it can only be safer!
In conclusion, one of the guys shared at our chapel time the next day that God had given him a verse for me, and thought perhaps this could be my theme verse for Yosemite Summit 2009. I think I like it!
He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him —
the dark rain clouds of the sky.
Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced,
with hailstones and bolts of lightning.
Yes, I still have that piece of wood I picked up, and plan to keep it as a reminder of how God protected me that day. Every day of life is truly a gift… perhaps that is why it is called the Present.