Powder Mountain

I wanted to share more about our trip to Eden, Utah over Spring Break. It has been my favorite ski trip so far! Eden is about an hour north of Salt Lake City. We went there to ski in Powder Mountain, as my brother in law researched the place and thought it'd be a great place to ski with younger kids. We were there with Steve's family- a total of 12 of us for the trip.

Powder Mountain has close to 9,000 acres of ski terrain, with 167 ski trails. They also limit the ski tickets they sell, which is great because it's not overcrowded. Our ski instructor said there are about 4 acres of ski terrain for every person!

We arrived Wednesday before spring break and booked ski tickets for the next day. Looking back, we kind of wish we would've had a day of rest since the travel was taxing on all of us. Two plane rides, an hour long drive, buying food for the week, and picking up ski gear the night before, made for a very long day. I was not in the mood to ski that first day!

First ski day: Palmer and Lilly went to ski school, Jack and I had a private instructor, and Steve was off on his own. This is the first year, I actually learned how to properly ski even though I've been about 4-5 times. Up until now all I have known to do is to do 'pizza' going down the hill! I am glad we had a great instructor who really showed the proper technique. 

Second ski day: Steve, the kids, and I were feeling rested and confident, so the five of us ventured out to some farther and harder trails. However, we made a few wrong turns and ended up really far up the mountain and struggling to get back. At one point I asked Steve if we could call in a ski mobile to come rescue us (particularly me and Lilly who were struggling and terrified of some blue trails). After some falls, and resting on the side of the mountain, we mustered enough energy to continue with the trails. Thankfully we made it back safely!! I was so proud of Lilly for how brave she was. And for all of us for making it through some hard trails.

Third ski day: It snowed most of the day, making it VERY cold, and very low visibility. We stayed in the easier trails and I took it easy. I mostly stayed back with Lilly and Rae, so the older boys could venture to some harder trails with the adults. It was fine with me! I get nervous seeing them ski sometimes and I trust Steve to take good care of them.

We did squeze in tubing one day! We usually love tubing and have a lot of fun, but I would not particularly recommend this place. It was a little overcrowded and the kids got bored of it rather quickly. Except for Rae and Lilly, I think they enjoyed it the most.

We ate all of our meals at the house and found a great local market close to us. We were grateful it was pretty reasonable and had great local produce. 

My niece Laney did not make it to ski, so I snuck a picture of her!

We only ventured out to eat one time for Mexican to Carlos and Harley's. It was delicious and well worth the time!

My sister in law Jessi, had a go pro camera and was able to get a video of the boys skiing our last day. They loved skiing and I'm thankful she was able to join us for the week.

Even though there were 12 of us, I'm thankful everyone got along great and we all had a stress free week. A special thank you to my father in law for this tradition and encouraging us to go every year. It was a wonderful week with family.

On Andrew's 14th Birthday

Today marks 14 years from the day we welcomed Andrew. For the most part our life feels full right now, and we no longer feel the deep sadness of those first few years. I still long to keep his memory alive and it brings me joy to know others still remember him too. I still wrestle with how his life turned out, but I hold on tightly to believing God was always in control and had a special purpose for his short life.

This year I felt I had nothing to offer, nothing to share, nothing insightful about Andrew's short life. But I strongly felt led to write something in his memory. I prayed and asked God for help, and he brought a story involving Andrew that has always brought me great hope. So here it goes.

Two months after Andrew passed away, Steve and I decided to take a trip to Europe. It had always been a dream of mine and we wanted to get away in hope of a refreshed perspective. It was very spontaneous and last minute (it was not like us to do this, we always plan!), but we took a chance and the two of us went off for ten days to Europe. We visited Munich, Florence, Tuscany, Rome and Venice. 

We were not only grieving the loss of Andrew, but we were also wondering what our future would look like. At the time we didn't know what had caused Andrew to be so sick, and there was a very good chance he had died from a genetic disorder. If that was the case, there was a much higher chance that if we ever had children again, they would also have the same genetic disorder. If that was the case our future seemed very different from what we had pictured just a few months earlier. While we smiled for the pictures, I felt very hopeless that our life could ever be restored again. 

And it was in the beautiful green mountains of northern Rome that I opened my bible (I carried around a small travel bible most days) and this verse jumped out at me:

But now listen, Jacob, my servant,

Israel, whom I have chosen.

This is what the Lord says—

he who made you, who formed you in the womb,

and who will help you:

Do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant,

Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.

For I will pour water on the thirsty land,

and streams on the dry ground.

Isaiah 44

This bible verse brought me hope. It reminded me that whether or not Andrew had a genetic disorder, it was God who makes us, he forms us in the womb. My hope wasn't on the results from Andrew's autopsy. My hope wasn't on myself or my efforts to make my life whole again. I could find rest in knowing God saw my pain in that moment and he answered my deepest question.

He knew my fears about the future, and he reminded me that I needed not to be afraid.

              He knew life felt empty and dry, but he reminded me he had the ability to change that.

I held on to this bible verse. I knew it wasn't a guarantee or promise God was giving me, but it brought me hope. Even now as I have wrestle with new fears about the future for our children, I go back to this verse to remind me of God's truth: He sees me, He loves me, and He is in control. 

Happy 14th Birthday Andrew! Until we see you again. 

Beauty for Ashes: Venezuela Ministry Update

Below are pictures the pastors from Venezuela have shared from their most recent bible and formula distributions.

Below are some pictures of the bibles that have been shipped...

As you may know, there is a formula shortage in the U.S which has significantly impacted our ministry of sending formula to Venezuela. Here is a short article expanding on contributing factors for this shortage.

Beauty for Ashes had consistently been receiving formula sample cans from a post office through a local church. This had been a blessing for about a year and a half, as this provided a few hundred cans a month- these cans returned to the post office by parents who did not want them. It was a foundational part of this organization that unfortunately is no longer taking place.

In the beginning of the year we were able to still send a few boxes of formula to Venezuela. As the year went on, our ministry began sending bibles and children’s clothes to continue to help those in Venezuela. In the post link below you can see many pictures we have received from the pastors in Venezuela from their distribution.

I believe we should care and help those here in our community in need of baby formula. As great as the need is here, the need in Venezuela is even greater and exacerbated by the hyperinflation and inability to get the formula to market. I believe God calls us to care for our local community, as well as our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world. I’m thankful for the opportunity to give to those in Venezuela who are in desperate need of formula.

There is limited data on malnutrition and food shortages in Venezuela, but below are some important facts.

- The WFP estimates that one in three Venezuelans is food insecure.

- Venezuela’s collapsed health system has led to the resurgence of vaccine-preventable and infectious diseases.

- The UN Human Rights Office has expressed concern over the absence of public data to monitor and adequately inform public health policies. The government has not published epidemiological data since 2017.

- Monitor Salud (NGO), reported 83 percent of hospitals have insufficient or no access to personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves, and 95 percent similarly lack sufficient cleaning supplies, including soap and disinfectant.

- Some 5.9 million Venezuelans, approximately 20 percent of the country’s estimated total population, have fled their country since 2014, the Inter-Agency Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela reports.

When you make a donation or contribution to Beauty for Ashes, 100% of your donation goes directly to those in need. No one is compensated for work and there are no operational costs as there are in some larger organizations.

You can give through PayPal at  




Carolina Briggs

Formula Shipment and Bibles Sent

I wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who generously donated towards formula for Venezuela. I never expected to have such a great response and have been blown away by people giving so abundantly and generously! To date I’ve collected 503 cans of formula as well as financial donations towards shipping and formula.

It’s taken me a few weeks to figure out how to move forward. I will be sharing updates on this blog and have created a Facebook page to provide updates on the formula sent. I’d like to be as transparent as possible (I’m also shipping bibles and a few other baby needs) to how this is distributed. I hope this will be a simpler way to provide updates on Venezuela, let you know of needs that come up, and share what I hear back from the pastor who is receiving all of this. A sincere thank you, and excited to be able to send help to where its most needed.

First shipment of formula was sent on October 12th! We shipped 95 formula cans and 50 new testament bibles, which will take around 4 weeks to get there. Here are some pictures of our kids and friends helping tape Spanish bible verses to the formula cans. I would love to ship even more boxes at a time, but because the boxes are valuable and are target to be stolen, the pastor has asked me that I only ship 2 boxes at a time.

Will share an update once I hear that the boxes have made it safely over there!