Category Archives: Outreach

Our First Epic Trip – Taos Part 2

Most of the first half of our Taos adventure was leisurely and restful.  The rest of our stay was quite an adventure.

It has always been a dream of John’s to hike Wheeler Peak.  We didn’t think it would be possible, on this trip, with the younger two being so little. But, Sara found an awesome summer camp to take the younger kids.  Sara, Ethan, and John dropped them off in the morning and headed for the peak via William’s Lake.  It was a challenging hike to the top and a mentally draining hike to the finish.  It was great to get past the tree line and see that the green on the mountain side is nothing but flowers.  We enjoyed seeing lots of marmots and mountain sheep.  It was also interesting to see how windy and cold it is at 13,000 ft.  Even though this hike was extremely challenging, we all agreed we would love to do this again.
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We always enjoy rafting as a family.  Sara, Ethan, and Maddie love adventurous rapids, while Max and John like the slow float.  Since we all wanted to stay together on the river, we took the slow float.  This year the water was so low that the slow float was just a little too slow for us.  Regardless of that, we enjoyed our time together.
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We got to visit our church home away from home, St James’ Episcopal, a couple of times during the trip.  During one of the visits, we had the privilege to help the needy and volunteer with the food pantry crew.  There were hundreds of people (in this tiny little town) that needed assistance from the food pantry.  Many of the volunteers needed assistance themselves.  It was devastating to witness such poverty.  We met at 9 a.m. and put in a grueling day of work until 4:00 p.m.  All three kids said that this was one of the highlights of the trip.

The food pantry operation is currently looking for donations to buy a walk-in freezer to store even more food if anyone out there wants to give.  This church gives so much to the community including: weekly food pantry, utility assistance, fire wood, Habitat for Humanity organizing, and much more.
We really had a chance to bond as a family during quiet moments.img_7519
We had lots of outside time.img_7489
We agreed that since we would be gone for a month we were going to eat as healthy as possible.  Plus, we had a tight budget so we saved our restaurant money and our waistlines for Taos.  We enjoyed some of our favorite places to eat: Taos Pizza Outback (for the cool outside environment), Taos Cow (for the great ice cream and coffee), and The Coffee Spot (Our favorite of all).
Sadly, our trip ended three days shorter than planned.  In the middle of the night, on our last night, Sara was awoken by headlights near our camper and saw a man get out of the car.  She immediately panicked, but figure that he was stopping to use the restroom.  Without warning, he started firing a gun.  In all the confusion, we didn’t know if he was shooting at us or not.  Quickly, he ran to his car cheering to his buddy and took off.  After thinking about it, we assumed that the kids were just out pranking.  But, Sara, who has always been afraid of guns, just couldn’t get settled.  So, after a sleepless night, we decided that this adventure was over and we headed home.img_7558
We were crushed to leave this beautiful place and the freedom that this trip brought to our family.  Everything we experienced was more amazing than we ever could have planned for.  It was really hard for the parents to get home and adjust to life after the fact.  We missed our immersion into simple living, pure nature, and complete family time.  We were also more tired than expected and it took weeks to recover and for life to seem normal.  The kids, however, didn’t miss a beat!  We can’t wait for our next Epic trip…. There are talks of Disneyland, the Pacific Northwest, New England, or Asheville, NC.  We could be driving in any direction.  We are extremely thankful for this trip and our time together.

February Happenings

This winter we chose to stay inside quite a bit more than last year.  Well, the weather is finally warming up and we are coming out of hibernation.  My, it feels lovely getting outside more.

We are spending our days making volcanoes, shooting off bottle rockets, playing soccer, hiking, making mud pies and mud villages and just being outside.

Maddie went to a Rubix Cube workshop and mastered it!100 days of school 052 endoffeb 009 endoffeb 016 endoffeb 059 endoffeb 084 endoffeb 092 endoffeb 104 endoffeb 108 endoffeb 116 endoffeb 118 endoffeb 164
Ethan started taking piano lessons in January and knows a few songs already! endoffeb 167
Valentine’s Day was low key.  We exchanged simple cards and mostly ate fruit. We did get out to make art with the seniors where our Gigi once lived.  They were so grateful to have company.  It would be worth your time to adopt seniors in your area. Valentinesday 025 Valentinesday 104Valentinesday 112Valentinesday 122 Valentinesday 124

Pre-Christmas Happenings

Here are few glimpses into our family’s holiday season.  This year, like every year, we made a paper chain to count down the days until Christmas.  Each chain link has an activity to do.  We add a mixture of fun family things along with service to our community.  We were very fortunate to be able to do all of these activities as a family on the correct day.  Last year, we both worked late hours and most of the activities didn’t happen.

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All year we have been dreaming of Halloween for the chance to dress up as a family and hand out fruit to people who are truly in need.  Last year we found out that people were going crazy for the oranges that we were handing out (instead of candy) and were shocked to find that some of these people had little to eat for that day.  We vowed to hand out more fruit this year.  While we thought that we had bought enough this year (about 250 oranges and apples), we were mistaken about the amount that was needed.

Since our family had just finished reading the Harry Potter book series with the kids, we thought it would be great for all of us to dress up as characters from the books.  Sadly, the kids had their own ideas about how they wanted to dress.  Sara and I dressed as Harry Potter and Hermione.

Max designed and colored the sword of Gryffindor.  But, we all helped create the Hogwart’s castle for our trunk.midnovember 004midnovember 009

Max was so helpful and caring when passing out fruit to the kids.  He would say, “Apple or Orange?  Red apple or green apple?.” midnovember 015 midnovember 018 midnovember 033midnovember 035

Next year, we will save even more money to buy plenty of fruit to hand out.


A Glimpse of Our Week

We are playing catch up a little around here.  My, how the time flies by!

The last two weeks have been very busy.  We have been: carting kids to and from play rehearsal and the performance, playing outside almost daily, having a family dinner, watching our oldest bridge over to Boy Scouts, our first fire in our fire pit, art with the seniors and enjoying another family church service.

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We are always striving to slow our lives down and breath in the stillness.  We did not get a chance to do that the last few weeks.  But, we didn’t struggle as we would have before we started this whole Epic journey.

We are excited for Spring Break and the chance to get away with our family and breath the cold mountain air.

A Glimpse of Our Week

What a fasted paced week we had.  Things are continually moving in the right direction and sometimes it is hard to even imagine the old us…

John took a half day off work to have lunch with Max and I.  We also went to play at our local science museum.
Lots of free play, puzzles and games of chess happened this week.  EpicInk 003

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We went as a family and volunteered at a local school in need’s math night.   mathnight

We took the older kids to the science museum so they didn’t feel left out. Two days in a row?  Man, that is Epic!IMG_0317

We also enjoyed an after school trip to Chuck E Cheese to play games with our cousins.sillye mom max







Weekend in Taos

Epic parents here,

This past weekend we had the privilege of going to our favorite spot, Taos.  We were able to take a rare, kid free trip.  We chatted the entire drive up and discussed big dreams for our family’s future.  While on the drive, John felt as if God filled his heart and revealed some major answers to a few questions we were asking. This is something that has never happened to him, so it was pretty powerful.  After this, we felt like the whole weekend was one big epiphany.

I mean how else would our song be playing on the radio as we walked into a local coffee shop.

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This wasn’t our normal trip to Taos.  Usually we go to the same restaurants and such.  For some reason, largely due to our revelations, we decided to go to the local Episcopal church.  Wow, what an amazing service with wonderful faces beaming with the light.

There was a beautiful snow falling during the hours leading up to our departure. God, we could stay here forever!

At the end of our journey, we learned so much.  We truly believe that we now know what our ministry is… We felt God show us that we need to put our children first, then the children of our preschool, and finally minister to the children of our local children’s home.  Sara has always had a passion to help the homeless and now deeply feels that by helping the children, this helps break that cycle.

We now see so clearly that our children deserve the most light from us.  Something we were barely doing while living in the fog.  It is all about the kids…

A Visit With Our Neighbors

Epic Parents here,
Like many neighborhoods, we have several elderly widows on our street.  Two in particular have always been especially nice to us.  From time to time we will pop over for a quick visit, but we decided to spend more quality time with them this past weekend.  Everyone was on board and knew that we were staying until our neighbors were done telling stories.
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It was such a joy listening to their tales of olden days with their loved ones.  The children did really well and interacted the way we had hoped they would.  Unfortunately, our last visit was cut short(an hour and a half later…) due to our two littles falling asleep!

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We all agreed this felt Epic and something we will definitely do more of in the future.