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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

2017 Christmas Letter

2017 Olsen Family  SAMPLING THE SEASONS:
(Did you notice the Eclipse Stamp? Did you breath on it?)
Another whirlwind year, and it seems this one was particularly eventful, not in all great ways.  Regardless of our ability to grasp the totality of what is happening, we trust in the One who holds it all in His hands and knows our comings and goings before we can even begin to imagine…

Leverich Girls
  • Family Ski trip in Utah to start off the year. 
  • Carolyn lost her oldest brother Gary.
  • Family & Friends joined us for a celebration of Life for Grandma Peggy in February and April Paddle Out
  • Angela and Lydia (Sister in Law & niece) came for a visit 

La Jolla Getaway
  • Nathan's Engineering Team places in regional competition & earns a place at State Competition
  • Carolyn and Ric always make a point to spend anniversary time away.  Our favorite getaway is La Jolla. 

  • Carolyn's 50th celebration swing dancing!
  • Visit from Sage & Stella (niece & nephew from CO)
  • Nathan helped with Skate camp with Youth Group.
  • Tina & Eladio's wedding- dear friends from Harbor Trinity days. 
  • Our congregation hosted almost 600 kids for a week to teach community engagement.
  • Nathan and Ric went on a 120 mile hike through the Philmont Scout Ranch and Kit Carson National Forrest.
  • Keziah w/ Broesamle Girls @ the Gathering
  • Annual camping trip with the Hellriegels in Crystal Cove
  • Keziah (17) became a senior (International Baccalaureate program)  and Nathan (15) is now a sophomore (Engineering and Technology Program) at Foothill HS.  Both also serve in FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) Leadership on campus.
  • College Applications, Visits and Scholarship applications for Keziah
  • Keziah began driving lessons (licence by Winter?)
  • Fall Fires were the worst in years (1st time ever on the edge of evacuation) and winds (lost 2 trees)
  • The Boys were inducted into the Sons of the American Revolution through several ancestors
  • Ric travelled to Orange TX to set up hurricane relief partnerships from Orange CA.
  • 500th Anniversary of the Reformations at Christ Cathedral (Orange).
  • Met some long lost cousins (Terence & Patti Smith)
  • Keziah led worship solo during services
  • City of Orange Tree Lighting
  • Lots of Scout Campouts and Training Hikes for the Boys
  • Lots of Cross Country and  Track Meets (both throw shot put and discus)
  • Lots of beach days
  • Carolyn and Ric are in a long term spiritual direction program from Souleader Ministries called  SHIFT, which includes weekends at Forest Home.   We attended 2 sessions this year.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

2016 Olsen Family Update:

Each day is a precious gift, and they go fast. In the midst, we are intentional to stop time as a family and anchor solid time together throughout the week, and on vacations and holidays.  

NATHAN (14 yrs. -9th grade) is outdoorsy and creative, 1st Year in public high school, BoyScouts (1st Class), loves campouts, GoPro- Beach, photography, Stand-up Bass player, serving, graduated Mariners Christian School, now enrolled in F.E.A.T. (Foothill Engineering and Technology) program @ FHS.
Nathan's Troop in Joshua Tree
Nathan's 8th Grade Graduation with the Grandmas
Nathan in Hawaii
Check out some of his work:
  • Video:
  • Photos:

KEZIAH (16 yrs. -11th grade) is joyful, runs Cross Country, received surprise Varsity Letter in Shot Put/Discus & Scholar Athlete Award, International Baccalaureate program @ FHS, cooking, knitting, Music: all district orchestra/violin,worship Leading (Sundays on keyboards & youth group with guitar) & youth choir.
Our Athlete Scholar

CAROLYN & RIC (18 yrs married) Carolyn –available each day ‘to love others’ and ‘to make a difference’ in a busy season of our lives.  
Ric travelled to Romania, trying to be a resource to pastors and leaders and lead our ekklesia. Okay, so I turned 50 and decided to use it rather than be defeated by it. 

Evening of Honor
Boys Run the OC 1/2 Marathon
FAMILY simply being together and snuggling, Hawaii/Kauai vacation with Grandma Georgie, saddened by our Loss of Grandma Peggy in November, still moments watching the waves crash and sunset at the beach.

On the Red Carpet with Grandma Peggy in celebration of her father's work at the Pantages in the 30's & 40's when she would go there after school to wait for him to get off work.
Have a blessed and Merry Christmas until He comes again!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

2015 Year in Review

It is becoming increasingly obvious to us that our time with our kids is limited.  They are maturing in such amazing ways and taking control of their own lives and need us less and less.  While this does have its benefits (date time for us without a babysitter) it also means that we love spending time with them.

Their growing up was no more obvious than at Keziah's Bat-Mitzvah where we celebrated her owning her place in the world of women and the body of Christ.  Five amazing mentors spoke into her life and then the ladies welcomed her into their fold as a mature young woman.  The test of our belief in that reality came the next day when we had a clash on ideas and we had to decide if we really trusted what we prayed for the day before that she was old enough to make her own decisions.  Yikes.  Thank you for everyone who participated.   The one rainy day of the winter happened that day so we crammed into our living room.

Nathan's maturity showed up in his grades this year.  He isn't a talker, so getting a grip on how his projects are going for school was a bit scary, yet his grades defended his silence.  It is scary, but he has proved his trustworthiness.

Keziah decided to try out for Cross Country this year, much to our surprise, but she did great.  Of course if you know Keziah, everything is social, so she even convinced a few friends to join with her. This spring they all are joining the Track team, but that will be in next years update.

Nathan decided to try out for the Basketball at MCS this year.  Again, that too will be in next years update as they begin in January.

Nathan and Ric travelled to Washington DC and Gettysburg and New York with Nathan's 8th grade class.  Such a great trip.  The faith of our forefathers is literally written in stone.

Keziah earned several academic awards at Foothill in her freshman year as an athlete scholar, musician and was on the leadership team of the FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) and being nominated to the All District Orchestra.

Nathan and Ric did a lot of camping with scouts including a week on Catalina Island where they got to SCUBA together for Nathan's first time.

Carolyn- She is the glue of the family, serving everyone else selflessly as well as continuing her long tenure at Coca Cola.  A few health problems have slowed Ric and Carolyn down this year.

Ric - On invitation with NAB Ric travelled for a year with Alan Hirsch's Future Travelers to study best practices among .  In a moment of lunacy, he agreed to run the OC ½ Marathon and raise money for World Vision, then preach immediately afterwards.  Now the kids want to do it next year.

We help lead a worship service with some dear friends at an assisted living home here in Orange.  They bless us so much.  We were also able to return to the Voice of Refugees center for Christmas to serve them and give them a taste of how we celebrate the holiday.  It is a way we can serve together as a family. 

Our summer vacation begin in Sacramento for the NAB Triennial meeting and continued through California Gold Country where we went white water rafting.  We visited Lois Hudson in Nevada for a day and then spent almost a week exploring San Fransisco.  Then we slowly meandered down the beautiful Central Coast, camping at Big Sur, visiting the Elephant Seal colony near the Hearst Castle and visiting Solvang on our way home.

After returning home the Beacon Youth Summer Camp was at a Refugee help center here in Anaheim.

Pantages Theater- For its 85th anniversary, the Pantages theater in LA is posting blogs about the inner workings of the building.  Turns out the one blog that got mailed to me was about a giant famous chandelier that my Great Grand Father once used to be the electrician for.  My Grandma used to hang out there with her dad after school, so they invited us up for a backstage tour.  So fun!
The famous chandelier from on stage. 
My Great Grand Father's work station backstage, though now modernized.

Here is the Pantages blog that got it all started.

So many new things happening as the kids grow older.  We are so grateful for a great congregation to worship with and great friends and family.  May God bless you and fill your life with hope and joy this next year!

Ric, Carolyn, Keziah, Nathan and Malibu!

Monday, December 15, 2014

2014 Olsen family year in review...

A Quick update on The Olsen’s 2014 (Not the detail, just the basics)

Wow! Did this year go fast! It was really a transitional year for our family, dominated by Keziah switching to public high school (6 blocks away) alone from a Christian School (6 miles away) with her brother and friends for the last 9 years.  For the first time ever, our family is now in 4 different places every day.  At the same time it has been a growth year as both of them have had significant physically growth spurts in the past few months. Carolyn is adjusting to now officially being the shortest in our family. ;-)


  • We started the year with a really great family trip to Yosemite.  We called it 50-60-70 because it was the 50th year of my Mom's first visit, the 60th year of , and the 70th year of My Grandma's first visit.  
  • We also hosted a citywide/cross-denominational ordination for Marcus Little.  Oh, wow! How beautiful the Body of Christ was that day!

  • Mass Casualty drill at John Wayne Airport with my Mom!

FEBRUARY: Keziah made it to regionals for the Spelling Bee!
MARCH:  One of Nathan's many camping trips with the Boy Scouts!

  • We celebrated Good Friday with 5 congregations with a Tenebrae service followed by a really good Wake meal.  
  • I love that I get to work as a chaplain for the City of Orange Fire Department.  (That's me in the white hat.)


  • Keziah graduated from 8th grade at Mariners Christian School after 8 Years! Wow! Several well deserved awards.
  • Family vacation in Florida- parks, beaches, Cape Canaveral.  Lots of rest and playtime.
  • 9 congregations joined together for a Pentecost Picnic in one of the city parks to celebrate the birthday of the Body of Christ.  Nathan won the most awards, including the watermelon eating contest.  The Body of Christ was awesome in action!

JULY: We hosted over 600 kids from all over North America for a week!  They did service projects for our partners in the city and stayed at Chapman University!  Yahoo!  It was so awesome that the mayors of both Orange AND Anaheim came to greet the students.


  • Beach camping at El Moro with the Hellriegels
  • Backyard gutted- don't even ask!


  • Keziah started 9th grade at Foothill High School
  • Nathan started 7th grade at Mariners Christian School
  • Ric Begins travel with Future Travelers in Ohio and has a really great reunion with great buddies: Scott Brooks & Kent Steiner and their families.
  • Switched to 1st Sundays leading worship at a senior home together as a family.  Great Grandma Peggy joined us.


  • Secured a Home Depot grant for the renovation of a Senior Veteran's home in partnership with Home Depot and Janitor's for Jesus!


  • 6th:  Our annual Random Acts of Kindness day in honor of St. Nickolas followed by a great family dinner and gift exchange.
  • 7th: Hosted the Children's Winter Wonderland with 4 other congregations for the City of Orange's 20th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony.  So fun!  If you are in town, you need to come visit.
  • Had a combined worship service after the ceremony with 12-15 congregations attending and commissioned 3 new congregations in prayer.

It has also been a really sweet family time as the new maturity has developed into new and deeper conversations with our kids.
Keywords in the life of our family for this year:
Nathan- (12 years old - 7th grade) Robots, Trains, Knex, campouts, Boy Scouts, growth (6 inches in 6 months (not even sure that’s healthy)), innovative, resourceful,
Keziah- (14 years old - 9th grade) Adventure, Violin, Venture Scouts, cooking, knitting, worship leading (@ youth group with guitar), joyful, 
Carolyn & Ric- (going on 17 years) We are grateful and feeling very blessed for each other, our kids, the congregation we get to be apart of and the great people we get to do life with.  

As you can tell, it has been a very eventful year for us! Thanks for your friendship!  
We love you all and trust your 2015 will be blessed!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

2013 - Wow! Really!

If we are on target, you should be receiving this letter during the 1st week in Advent.  I (Ric) love this time of year!  But I also get frustrated.  It is a great season to prep ourselves for celebrating Jesus 1st coming and remember its significance to us today and for eternity, but it is also meant to cause us to stop and prepare for His 2nd Coming.  Unfortunately, both often get caught in the hustle and bustle of the secular holiday celebrations!  For this reason, we still open gifts on St. Nicholas day!  We love being free for the rest of the month to worship and celebrate and not be stuck in shopping.

Anyway, enough about what's coming up, what about the past year?  The highlight of our year
At King Solomon's Copper Mines
together as a family, including my Mom, was a 14 trip to Israel with a group from several congregations here in Orange County.  We followed the story of David, beginning in the Valley of Elah where the Lord defeated Goliath thru him, and the Caves of Addulam where he hid from Saul's armies.  We travelled to the south visiting Beersheba, a Biblical Safari Park, Snorkeled in the Red Sea, visited King Solomon's Copper Mines, and a replica of the Wilderness Tabernacle, before heading north.  We stopped on the way to spend the night with Bedouin's in a large wool tent to escape a Haboob (sand storm).  The next morning we hiked Herod's Masada fortress and took a float in the Dead Sea before heading up the Jordan Valley to the archeological wonder of Beit Shean beneath the ancient ruins of Gilboa where Saul and Jonathan's bodies were hung after their defeat We spent the next few days exploring the shores of the Sea of Galilee which dominated the  ministry of Jesus, including sites like Capernaum, Dan, Caesarea Phillipi, Gamla, baptisms in the Jordan River, a boat ride on the Sea, among others.
The Garden Tomb

Before heading south again toward Nazareth, we hiked the Horns of Hattin on Mount Arbel and the trail Jesus would have walked to Capernaum.  After a quick stop in Nazareth, we toured the water tunnels of Megiddo and headed to Jerusalem.  Jerusalem can't be covered in a few sentences, but among the highlights were the Western Wall Tunnel, a tour of the newly excavated David's City (including the Great Stone Structure believed to have supported his palace and the recently discovered Pool of Siloam -Magnificient!) and a wet walk through Hezekiah's Tunnel.  We held NATHAN'S BAR MITZVAH at the Southern Temple Steps (we had planned on a Bat Mitzvah for Keziah, but it wasn't permitted).  
Nathan's Bar Mitzvah

Archeological Dig at Tel Maresha
Our final days included hikes through Herod's newly discovered burial site at the Herodium, and ironically on the same day participated in an archeological dig at the town of his birth.  So many stories to tell and literally thousands of pictures.  Come over some time and we would love to show you.  Nathan did a 3.5 hour presentation to a class of 5th graders and held their attention.

Since we spent all our vacation money in Israel, we decided to go camping for our summer vacation, never expecting we could actually find spots at Yosemite, but we did and had a blast.  We biked, tubed, hiked and had a great week together.  This was largely a success due to Nathan's deep involvement in Boyscouts where he is mastering knot tying, packing, and preparation skills that made him a super valuable asset in prepping to go.

We also had a couple boy/girl split trips this year:
Nathan and I went to Boyscout camp just outside Yosemite for a week following our family trip, so needless to say, I was excited to see my bed.   I was also a chaperone for his 6th grade science camp near San Diego.

Carolyn and Keziah travelled to Washington DC and New York with Keziah's 8th grade class for a week in October.  What an amazing opportunity to see monuments to our nations history.

We travelled to Colorado over Labor Day weekend as I was invited to  speak at a Family Camp at a beautiful resort there.  It was a great and unexpected way to end the summer.  I am so grateful they asked me to bring my family with me.  On the way, we had a last minute reunion with a long lost cousin who lives just off the road from where we were heading, and his wife and sister.  I look forward to reestablishing that connection.
Fly fishing on the Rio Grande
We were blessed with some great visits this year including Cousin Hannah Leverich this summer after her high school graduation.  In November, her younger sister Clara and her Dad Brian came out for a week as well.  Hannah got to camp with us at El Moro.

Both Keziah and Nathan continue in orchestra at school playing violin and bass respectively.  Keziah took a significant role in her school play this last year in the Seussical Jr. and has already landed a part for this next year.  She also has been playing piano and guitar in her spare time and knitting like crazy.  Nathan's sport seems to be Lacrosse, which is a winter sport, so we are just getting ready to dive into that for a few months.  Fortunately, their activities don't overlap seasonally.

We are grateful for the opportunities God has given us and realize that this is a season to be slow and intentional with as our children are both now in middle school.  We hope to spend every moment we can with them.

Please pray for us if you get a chance.  We are trying so hard to not be so preoccupied with activity that we miss God's best for us.  It is hard in this culture.  How can we pray for you?  We are getting better at praying together as a family and we could use some fuel for the fires.

Thanks for the role you play in the life of our family!  We do appreciate you!
Love and blessings,
Ric, Carolyn, Keziah and Nathan

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Summer is coming!

Thanks for your prayers! I know it has been a while since I posted.  I have been getting my monthly prayer days, but with Resurrection Celebrations and  Israel preparations, it was a very busy couple of months.  Sorry I havent posted anything for you.  If you watch my facebook, you can tell what is going on.

I spent my prayer time yesterday at Marywood Center here in Orange.  It is up for sale ($27million to pay for the Crystal Cathedral).  It would be great to have a retreat center like this in Orange County.  Pray this can happen somehow!


  • On May 30, we celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary!  God is good!
  • Great trip to Israel.  Kids did fantastic.  Nathan just did a 2.5 hour presentation at school.
  • MCS Headmaster & OPD chief is interested in going to Israel.
  • We should be refinancing our home today or tomorrow.  This will  create some flexibility in our finances.
  • I am walking with another pastor on how to have monthly prayer days.
  • National Day of Prayer opened some great opportunities for the Body of Christ to be together including a time of prayer in the Police Department with the chief.


  • A potential speaking engagement in late summer with my family would be a great way to finish the summer.  I will be deciding in the next couple days.
  • We are trying to create margin in our family.  Space to allow God to lead, not our calendars.  Its hard with middle school aged kids.
  • Carolyn needs a procedure on her teeth soon.  She is having headaches.  It should be done in early June.
  • Over the summer I am finishing the Speaking calendar for 2013/14 and the Congregation calendar.
  • Pray for the Beacon finances.  It isnt pretty.
  • Planning has begun for the 2014 visit of 800 youth from all over North America.  Pray for strong partners in the city with vision.


  • June 7-8 Strategic Team Retreat
  • June 22-29 Since Carolyn used her vacation time in Israel, our vacation time as a family will only be one week this year, but the great news is we got 3 nights in Yosemite.
  • June 30 to July 6 For the rest of my vacation, NEO & I are headed to Boyscout Camp in Kern.  I will be one of 4 adults leading 23 boys.  Pray for safe driving in addition to the things mentioned above.
  • July 22-27 Nathan will be at Forest Home with our Children's Ministry.
  • July 21-27 Keziah will be with our youth on a mission trip to downtown LA.
Have a blessed summer!