Kidologist.com: Karl Bastian's Personal Site and Blog
Archive for May, 2011
This was the first Memorial Day I got to hang the American Flag with my son’s help and explain to him the meaning of “Memory Day.” He asked very thoughtful questions like, “Why do we celebrate when none of our family has died?” and “Why would people die for us when they don’t even know us?”
Then we stood and recited the Pledge to the American Flag which he as learned at school. We surprised me by asking me to explain it phrase by phrase – and my tears surprised even me as I explained in language a five year old could understand:
“I pledge Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America…”
“Luke, that means that while we love all nations and God created all nations, I am feel blessed and proud to be an American and live in this country because of how wonderful it is – and this flag is the symbol of this nation. A symbol is something that stands for something – just like you recognize cars by their symbols, people recognize our nation by this flag at world-wide sporting events, on rocket ships, and even by the flag on the moon that shows we were the first to land a space this there and have a man walk there three months after I was born. That’s why we respect this flag. Some say it is only cloth and you can do anything to it – they fail to see that it was only cloth until it was formed into the symbol or our country. Just as two sticks were just two sticks until we form them into a Cross and suddenly they remind us of what Jesus did when He died for us. Of course you can break the sticks and you don’t hurt Jesus, and you can hurt the flag without hurting our country, but we try our best to show respect to the flag to show how thankful we are for our country. Those who are mean to the flag are not reflecting a thankful heart for the blessings of this land.”
“…and to the Republic for which it stands,”
“Luke, a Republic is a land that is ruled by the people instead of the government. We have a government, but unlike most of the world, and unlike most of human history – we the people ARE the government, and we CHOOSE our leaders. You won’t understand who wonderful this is until you are older, but it means every four years we get to choose our President. If we don’t him or her, we can pick a new one. We pick the leader of our city, our state, and even our neighborhood. That is why we love our flag so much, because each of those stars stands for one of those states that all are part of the One Republic for which it stands.”
“…one nation under God,”
“Luke, under God means that our nation, when it was started was planned as a nation that would follow God’s Laws – in a minute we’ll talk about Liberty and Justice – but those needed limits, and they needed to be limited by God’s Laws, otherwise anyone could do anything they wanted and the world would be a crazy place. Someone has to decide what is right and wrong, and there is no better Person to do that than God. So our founders (the men and women who started our nation) said all our laws would be based on God’s Laws so things would never get too crazy. Anything in our culture that is crazy, is usually because our laws are going against God’s Laws – you remember that.”
“Luke, I’m sad to say, our nation tried to split once. It was a long and terrible battle you will learn about in school someday called the Civil War. We weren’t at war with another country, but with ourselves. It was a war between the North of America and the South of America and whether we would divide and become two countries or one, and whether all people would have Freedom and Liberty and Justice for all, but you’ll more about that too when you get older. But we have decided to be One Nation from now on.”
“…with Liberty and Justice for all.”
“Luke, I’ve been to fourteen different countries around the world, and while every country has wonderful and beautiful things and the people are special and love their land and are equally loved by God – every time I came back to America I could tell how blessed and lucky I was to have been born and live here. Liberty is the freedom to live your own life the way you want to without anyone (especially the government) telling you how to live your life. It is something constantly under attack, and something we need to defend always, even here in America. But Liberty is something that is rare around the world. For many people around the world what they will do, how much money they will make, who they will marry or other things are determined the day they are born – but in America we have something we call The American Dream. Some think the American Dream is that if you are an American you should get this or that – nope. The American Dream means if you are willing to work hard, you have the opportunity to have whatever you dream. There is no one telling you “no” except you. Dream it – and work toward it!
Justice means that no matter who you are, the Justice System is available to you. In many places around the world, only the rich or famous or powerful get Justice, the unknown, poor or unconnected can only hope for justice. Here, if you can’t afford a lawyer, one is given to you. You are assumed innocent until proven guilty, not the other way around!”
(I was starting to lose him by now, he is only five, after all! But he was listening intently!)
“But Luke, a nation like America isn’t just something that happens easily – it has to be fought for. There have been evil nations that have sought to destroy us – and while many nations make their young men become soldiers, our soldier are all volunteers! That means they all sign up on their own! They just love America so much, they sign up so go and fight for America. They go to far away places to defend our Liberties, to free people who are in trouble – America is the Super Hero of the world, and our flag is like the S on Superman’s chest – when people in trouble see the USA is coming they know help is on the way. And when we win, we don’t conquer or take over, we help rebuilt and leave!
And Luke, we even help rebuilt our enemies and become their friends. Many of our friends today, Japan, Germany, Russia – were once mortal enemies – but we are a Good Nation, we stand for what is Good, so we win, and then we hold out our hand and help those who were trying to kill us, unlike any nation in World History.
That is why your dad is proud to be an American, and that is why I want to raise you to be a Patriot and why today we Remember those who died so that we might be free.”
Your Patriot Dad,
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:
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.
Every year when Yosemite Summit rolls around, I am never ready for it.
And that is exactly why I do it.
I have projects that are not where I want them. Deadlines I’m behind on, so many to do’s unchecked they are overwhelming at times, countless more items floating in my head that need to get on a to do list. Even more dreams and ideas of things I’d like to do. The reality is, I’ll never be “ready” for a week off of work to just relax, refresh, renew and re-create. I am too driven by my life Mission and Calling. But I am also driven by disappointment. We all have this ideal in our mind and hearts of the way life is supposed to be – and when life turns out differently and we don’t get want we want (the core of sin is selfishness) we bury it in busyness, and as Christians we can bury it in Christian service and “Godly” busyness – whereas the rest the world may attempt to hide it in entertainment, the accumulation of power, wealth or pleasure – if not outright debauchery. (Some do seek to redeem it through a life well lived, though those are rare.) I have this ideal in my mind of the type of man, husband, and dad I want to be – and I just can’t get there. And I’m not just talking the deep stuff, its the simple stuff too, like an organized garage or getting the landscaping in the back yard finished. Hanging out with my dad more or reading all the books stacked in my office. So much to do and not enough time to do it in. I have a Calvin and Hobbes T-shirt that says,
“God put me on this earth to accomplish a set number of things. Right now I am so far behind, I will never die.”
But the reality is, I am haunted by what I will left undone that I wanted to do, and what I did instead.
So I go to Yosemite Summit to STOP – stop everything – and Think. Listen. Reflect. Refocus. Reconsider. Recalibrate. Reconsider.
Have you ever just wanted to scream, “I need everything to just STOP ALREADY!” Well, that’s what Yosemite Summit is. The world freezes for several days. Everything stops. Nothing matters for a few days. You aren’t so important anymore. People can get along without you, and guess what? The world survives! And everything is OK when you get back. Sure, there is some pile up, but its manageable.
That’s why I created Yosemite Summit. Because first and foremost I need it. It’s for me. I know that sounds selfish, but it is the truth. But it’s so good and I need it so much, I decided NOT to be selfish about it, and decided I’d invite just a few guys to come with me. First of all, because part of me wishes someone had invited me to something like this a long time ago when I didn’t know I needed it. But mostly because its just too amazing a time to keep to myself.
I hope you will create your own Summit. Don’t wait until you are ready. You never will be. Just put it on the calendar, and promise yourself you won’t cancel it no matter what happens. And when the time comes, just go. Pick a place you love. Invite some others to go with you. And just do it. You know you need it. Freeze the world for a few days. Honestly, we’ll be fine without you. And we might like you better when you get back.
This will be my last blog post until June. Until then… try to survive!
CHECK OUT THE GUYS I’VE SHARED THIS EXPERIENCE WITH THE PAST THREE YEARS AND CLICK ON THE PICTURE FOR A REPORT, HIGHLIGHT PHOTOS AND VIDEO:
Will you be in the 2012 picture?
I got to spend some time yesterday with family and friends in two of my favorite places in Colorado – Castlewood Canyon State Park, and Garden of the God. (I leave the ‘s’ off, there is only one God.) Little did I know the surprise that would await me and rock my Faith! But first, some pictures!
I worship through my camera, so allow me to post a few pictures. A few more are on my facebook page. (If you send me a friend invite, include a short personal note, or I will ignore it due to spam.)
I just can’t get enough of God’s creative art in the mountains and trees that He has created!
And I love seeing my little boy fall in love with Creation!
These rocks fell and caught here years ago… a sample of God’s sense of humor!
I love watching these climbers… tempted to join them, but… well, I won’t.
We saw this cave and it beckoned…
So we climbed up into it!
That’s my boy!
Here he is again!
One of my favorite spots to shoot every time I go to Garden of the God(s). It on a popular route and everyone walks right by.
And then I saw it… (you can click on the image to see it larger)
Through the woods I saw the most amazing thing… out there in the middle of the trees was the most incredible natural phenomenon!
Occurring completely on it’s own, without any intervention by man, was a fire hydrant! Obviously, this didn’t need any design or planning, it just had grown here naturally over the course of thousands or perhaps millions of years. I’m sure the $8 3D video program over at the Visitor Center would explain it in more detail, but I never watch those, because I hate how they deny a designer and planner for everything around this fire hydrant. But, obviously, this had to be completely natural! I see no signs of any intelligence or forethought or purpose or planning for this yellow iron mass. There is no need for a hydrant in this location. No way it fits into an overall plan for balance or safety or prevention. No master plan can be at work here. Obviously, it just popped up over time. It can’t be connected to a larger network in order to help a broader thought-out system be available in case of a fire? Nah. To think that this appearance here in the woods is evidence of intelligent design is absurd and ludicrous. I’d have to be religious or something and take that on blind faith to even suggest such a thing! The only logical explanation is that over a very long looooong period of time it just sort of kinda appeared hear and just happened to be a part of very complex and complicated system that only works once completed and that along the way it was somehow motivated in and of itself to keep evolving even though in its half developed stages it served no functioning purposes. Yeah, that’s it. Makes perfect sense.
Next entries »
So how do Daddy and Son survive in the store when Mommy is shopping forever?
Why, we play hide n seek, of course! I love hunting for my son, and I love how his giggles give him away, or how he is oblivious with his feet sticking out.
And I love the look of pure joy on his face and how it lights up when I find him! We both hide from Mommy every night at bedtime, and it’s a challenge to find a new stop where a grown man and a boy can hide from Mommy, but we do pretty good, and while sometimes she plays along, sometimes we fool her pretty good. The goal is always to hear, “That was a good one!”
But the truth is, there aren’t too many places to hide a little boy, and he’s pretty easy to find if you look.
That’s the nice thing about our Heavenly Father too. God has good things for us, and if we are willing to look, He hides them pretty easy too. After all, didn’t He say,
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” – Matthew 6:33
And the best news is, he hides them easy, He said so:
“God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.” – Acts 17:27
Perhaps you need to look for God today. You might think He’s hiding… but I promise you, if you look for Him, He’s let his feet peek out, or give you a clue as to how to find Him, because He likes to be found. But He usually waits to see if you’ll seek Him first. He’s like that.
If you will, He has a promise for you:
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:12