December 2011 Update

As 2011 comes to a close and we reflect on all that has happened this year, one thing is abundantly clear – we have so much to be grateful for! January marks three years since we left Atlanta and moved to Denver. With each passing year Denver feels more and more like “home” for us. Here are just a few things that have been happening in our family over the last few months.

Ethan wrapped up another great season with Fusion soccer club. This was our third season playing with the same team, and it’s been such a great experience for our family. Ethan’s really enjoyed playing with the same kids and has benefited so much from Andy, his coach, who does a great job developing them. Ethan also continues to progress well in school. The move up to first grade has brought regular homework assignments (which he’s not a big fan of) but also some great new friends who weren’t in his class last year. Ethan attends our neighborhood school, and all his friends live very near us, some only 1-2 blocks away.

Andrew started in pre-kindergarten this year at a local church school in our neighborhood, and it seems like he’s turned a corner. While he still protests going to school some days, gone are the complete meltdowns of the past! Andrew is in the same class with the same teachers that Ethan had for pre-kindergarten, and they have been just as helpful and attentive with Andrew as they were with Ethan. Andrew also played soccer with Fusion this fall, and Stephen volunteered to coach his team. Andrew hasn’t really found his motivation in sports yet, and he seemed to spend his time during most games watching the other kids run around! But he did enjoy himself (well, snack time after the games at least) so he’ll be playing again in the spring.

Of course Halloween was a big hit for both the boys. Denver celebrates Halloween like nowhere else we’ve ever been! Living in an urban neighborhood means that there are more houses closer together, which makes for a kid’s dream when it comes to the candy they get! We had fun enjoying the beautiful fall evening with neighbors who have become close friends, something we’re very grateful for and makes Denver feel like home.

Kate continues to stay busy with her work at Ron Blue & Company and keeping our family organized (probably her more difficult task). Because of our extensive summer travel, finances required us to stay in Denver for Thanksgiving, but we were excited to have Kate’s mom Sammye, her sister Kristen, and our nieces Lily and Caroline come down from Wyoming (Barry had to stay and take car of the cows!).

The fall has remained busy for Stephen with his work at New Denver Church as well as staying busy with the boys, especially with his role coaching Andrew’s soccer team. One of the things that has excited him the most has been a rekindled passion for the spiritual formation and growth. Through some groups with other pastors and working with a counselor/spiritual director, this has been one of the most dynamic times of personal growth that Stephen can remember in years. This personal journey has also led Stephen to pursue learning more about the process of spiritual formation and beginning to bring this learning to his ministry at New Denver. He hopes to begin writing more about this journey here on this blog. So stay tuned!

Thanks for stopping by to catch up with what’s happening with our family. We hope this update finds you well. If we don’t see you or speak to you during the holidays, we hope that you enjoy a wonderful Christmas as we celebrate God’s greatest gift to us – his Son Jesus.

Summer 2011 Update

It has been a great summer for the Redden family – filled with great times with family and friends, and it’s hard to believe that it’s  coming to a close. Here are some of the highlights of what we’ve been up to since our last update in May.

In June we decided to take a few days as a family to explore part of our beautiful state of Colorado. We started in one of our favorite places on earth – Crested Butte. This month Stephen and Kate celebrate nine years since they were married in a wildflower meadow on a beautiful afternoon in Crested Butte. It was fun to go back with our boys (this was Andrew’s first trip) and to share a place that has become so special to us. We continued our trip with a day in Ouray to soak in the hot springs and wrapped up with the trip with a ride on the Durango to Silverton railroad.

That long weekend trip was just getting us warmed up for the traveling still ahead in July and August. In late July we loaded up the whole family and flew to Raleigh, NC to visit Kate’s aunt Harriet and uncle Dick on our way to a week at Ocean Isle Beach, NC with Kate’s mom, aunt, uncle, sister, and nieces. It was a great week. The boys were so young the last time we were at the beach that this was a totally new experience for them – building sand castles, playing in the ocean, and raft riding the waves. After a week at the beach Stephen headed back home for a week while Kate stayed in NC to visit her grandmother in VA and spend some time at her aunt’s lake house with some extended family. The boys loved riding in the boat, swimming in the lake, and playing with cousins they hadn’t seen in years. The following week Stephen flew from Denver, and Kate and the boys left from Raleigh to converge on Nashville, TN for a few days with Stephen’s parents. Stephen’s dad is still recovering from a bacterial infection that he contracted in May that brought on arthritis-like symptoms and has significantly limited his mobility. Thankfully he is slowly but surely recovering, and we had a great few days visiting with them. Stephen’s brother Jason and his family came up for a couple days, and it was great to see them. Kate and the boys flew back to Denver late in the week, but Stephen tacked on a short trip down to Atlanta to see friends before flying home to Denver a few days later. Whew – what a whirlwind few weeks!

In between all the traveling we’ve had a great summer in Denver as well. The boys stayed busy with sports (both playing baseball and taking swimming lessons), local summer camps, and play dates with friends in the neighborhood. Both boys started school this week. Andrew began pre-kindergarten three days a week and Ethan started into first grade and is even riding the bus to school on his own this year. Mom and dad are going to have to get used to that one!

Kate continues to stay busy with her work at Ronald Blue and Company as the stock market keeps her clients (and all the rest of us) anxious about the economic future, but it is a great opportunity for her to minister to people to remind them that our security is in Jesus Christ not Dow Jones! Stephen had a busy summer at New Denver Church, teaching a short series on friendship and a July 4th weekend message about faith and politics, leading a class on marriage, and beginning to prepare for launching new small groups this fall.

As we look forward to the fall and a new season of life and ministry, we are so grateful for so many things. We are so excited to see God at work in our lives, in our family, in our church, and in our city, and we are humbled to be a part of his great plan. We hope this update finds you well and hope you will help us stay in touch by reaching out with a phone call or email when we come to mind. As always we are grateful for and covet your prayers for our family and our ministry here in Denver.

May 2011 Update

It’s been another busy but great few months for the Redden family since our last update. As we think back over the last few months there are so many great things that have happened that it reminds us just how blessed we are and how grateful we are for God’s goodness. Here’s a few highlights from the last few months.

Ethan is almost a first grader! Next week is his last week of school, and we have to say that overall it has been a great first year. His teachers were wonderful, he made some great new friends, and we’ve really seen his learning and creativity progress through the year. We also just wrapped up soccer season and are gearing up for baseball. Ethan is especially excited about baseball, because he moves from t-ball to coach pitch. He’s often said, “I finally get to play real baseball!” Yet another milestone for Ethan came just last weekend while visiting Kate’s family in Wyoming. With a little peer pressure from his cousin Lily, Ethan finally got up the courage to tackle riding a bike, and he did a great job. Check out the video:

Andrew had a milestone event in April – celebrating his fourth birthday. We celebrated in grand style (well, grand style for a 4-year old) with a trip to Chuck E Cheese! One of the highlights of the party was the ticket blaster just for the birthday boy. Check out the video:

Andrew tells us that he is now a “big boy” and we have to admit that he is getting there. He’s slowly adapted to school and is pretty much tantrum free at drop off time. While he didn’t play any spring sports Andrew is looking forward to t-ball again this summer and hopefully the chance to head up to the ranch for more horseback riding, which he loves.

Kate continues to stay busy, and as usual a lot of that involves travel! Since our last update she spent a week with the boys in North Carolina and Virginia visiting her aunt and grandmother. The next week Stephen met them all in Nashville for a few days with his parents. But the big trip came in early May when Kate had the opportunity to take a week-long cruise to Alaska with her mom. Kate’s mom is a big fan of Dr. Barry Sears and his “Zone Diet” books, and Dr. Sears put on this cruise and did a number of presentations. They had a great week, and Kate is excited to share all that she learned about healthy eating though Stephen is still unwilling to part with his deep fryer!

Stephen has been busy as well with travel and lots of exciting things at New Denver Church. In addition to the trip to Tennessee with the family, Stephen traveled to Guatemala in March to visit New Denver’s international partner Pastor Antonio Moxnay and his church in San Pablo la Laguna. It was a great trip that helped pave the way for New Denver to bring teams down in July 2011 and January 2012. Stephen also had a milestone birthday this year – the big 4-0! Thanks to his boyish good looks and childish personality, he’s taking this entry into his forties in stride! Kate planned a fun low-key night of dinner and bowling (that’s what old people do, right?) with our good friends the Borgens and Gilmores. His work at New Denver also continues to keep Stephen busy. The church continues to grow slowly but surely, and there continue to be great stories of people growing in their faith. On top of his work with small groups Stephen continues a regular preaching schedule and even had the opportunity to preach through Easter this year which was a great experience for him.

One more significant update for our family is about our friend Nicole. You may remember in our last update that we had been praying for Nicole to get a spot in a local transitional housing program here called Joshua Station. After nearly seven months of living with us in our basement, Nicole was finally accepted into Joshua Station in April! She is settling into her new home well and is looking forward to being reunited full time with her boys Aidan (6) and Christopher (4) who have been living with her dad. We’re excited for this new phase of her life and to seeing how God continues working in her life.

Thanks for continuing to keep up with our journey. We hope this helps all of you – our friends and family around the world – feel a little more connected to what God is doing in our lives.

March Update

After a wonderful and relaxing holiday break, 2011 got off to a fast start at the Redden household, and it seems like we haven’t slowed down much since! It seems like even our best attempts to create margin and a sustainable pace of life are challenged at every turn by the demands of work, travel, kids’ activities, and the unexpected opportunities and challenges God places in our path. We are so grateful for our life right now, but it seems very full these days!

Stephen didn’t have any time to ease back into his work with New Denver Church after the holidays as he was preaching the first sermon series of the year entitled, Moving Beyond Belief. The opportunity to preach and teach on a regular basis has been a great opportunity and God has used it to stretch and grow him every time he teaches. It’s also been a good stretch for Kate as she gets more nervous about him speaking than he does! One of the great joys for Stephen over the last few months has been working with the Leadership Development Program (LDP) associates at New Denver. One of his great passions is investing in leaders and seeing people achieve their God-given potential, and he has had the opportunity to work with all of the LDP associates on various projects in this capacity. Travel is not a regular part of Stephen’s work with New Denver or his contract work, but two out-of-town trips have made this an especially busy season. In February he traveled with the team to the Ecclesia Church Network National Gathering in Washington, DC. This was a great chance to connect with pastors and friends from around the country and be encouraged and equipped for the work of growing a young church. Stephen’s second trip is coming up in early March when he will travel with Norton to Guatemala to continue developing relationships with a church with whom New Denver will partner in its cross-cultural missions efforts. All great things, but on top of his regular work shepherding small groups and meeting regularly with members of the congregation, it has been a busy start to the year. As if all that wasn’t enough, of course Stephen has also been making time for regular trips up to the mountains to enjoy his favorite pastime, snowboarding!

Kate has also been busy – work with Ron Blue & Co and keeping up with the boys is more than a full-time job. In February Kate traveled back to Atlanta for Ron Blue’s annual meetings. These regular trips are a great time to reconnect with colleagues and old friends in Atlanta, but they are also quite exhausting! Kate has also taken the primary role in working with our friend Nicole in helping her continue to move toward a long-term sustainable living situation. As you may remember from our update in October, Nicole is a friend we met here in Denver who is a single mom trying to find employment and a stable living situation. After bouncing around homeless shelters in the greater Denver area, Nicole came to stay with us back in September, and we’ve been trying to help her get her life moving in a positive direction. We’ve been working with a great local organization called Josua Station and are waiting and praying for her admittance into this program. We’ve learned a lot about problems and challenges we’ve never had to face personally, and God has definitely stretched us over these last six months. Fortunately Kate has made some time for rest and relaxation in the midst of her busyness. In early March she got the opportunity to unwind at Beaver Creek Resort with our friend Mary from Atlanta whose family owns a time share there.

The boys continue to grow and become more and more mature. This has been very apparent to Kate and Stephen during the times when the other is away, and one of them is playing single parent. While those times are still challenging, Ethan and Andrew are coming to an age where it is much less stressful than in years past.

Ethan didn’t sign up to play any winter team sports but has continued to stay busy this winter. He’s had the opportunity to continue getting better as a skier, and he also got the chance to try out his skills as a rodeo cowboy at the Denver Western Stock Show! His Papa Gene would be so proud to see the cowboy coming out in his grandson. Ethan also continues to love his first year of school. The last week of winter break he actually started asking when he would be able to go back to school! He continues to make friends and his social schedule of play dates stays pretty full!

Andrew continues to surprise us every day as he gets more and more articulate in expressing himself and gets more confident on his own. We’ve actually seen fewer tantrums when dropping him at school, and with mom and dad traveling so much he’s had plenty of opportunities to spend extended time at school and has actually enjoyed it. Andrew has also recovered well from his first traumatic injury – 4 stitches in his chin. While delivering cookies to neighbors at Christmas he tripped and fell, hitting his chin on a concrete step. To no one’s surprise he wasn’t the greatest patient, but he has persevered and made a full recovery with only a small scar as a memento of the experience!

As spring approaches we’re all looking forward to getting outside, getting back into spring and summer sports for the boys, and reconnecting with friends and neighbors. While Colorado winters aren’t nearly as bad as friends and family back in the south think they are, people definitely “hibernate” a bit. So we’re looking forward to longer, warmer days and time hanging out with friends and neighbors on the front porch.

As always thanks for tracking with us. Please stay in touch and let us know what’s happening with you as well. We’re so grateful for all your love and support.


December Update

In the day-to-day of life, time seems to move slowly – packing lunches, driving to school, going to work, driving to soccer practice, eating dinner, spending time with friends. But as 2010 comes to a close and we look back on all that’s happened, it’s hard to know where the time went this year!

This was a big year for Ethan in many ways. Starting school was perhaps the biggest change for him this year, but it is a step he has taken in stride. His outgoing personality has served him well in making friends quickly. We weren’t sure how well he would do at staying focused in class and listening, but his teachers tell us he is doing great and progressing well. It was another great sports year for Ethan – basketball, soccer, t-ball, soccer (again), and now we’re moving into ski season. It has been fun watching his skill and confidence grow this year in so many ways. It has also been a real joy to see Ethan growing spiritually as he asks questions about God and Jesus. He loves UpStreet (New Denver’s ministry for elementary-aged kids) and has learned so much this year in that environment.

Andrew grew up so much this year. We saw him move from being a toddler to a little boy over the course of this year. And while we’re grateful to be coming to the end of the “terrible three’s” (two was much easier than three for both our boys), we are a little sad that the baby years are gone. Of course getting older does have some benefits, like being able to finally play sports! Andrew played t-ball and soccer this year, and had a great time, though he probably liked the snack afterward more than the game itself. Andrew has also survived another year of pre-school against his best efforts to avoid it. He’s definitely a little more reserved than his brother and just hasn’t gotten excited about spending too much time away from mom.

For Kate and Stephen the year has been a progressive confirmation of God’s call to this place. As we’ve continued to grow in relationship with friends from our neighborhood and from New Denver Church we have steadily felt more at home. This has been a really significant year for New Denver in so many ways. Our first year was so difficult in so many ways – trying to build momentum with just a handful of relationships and connections. But as we have been faithful with the people we have met and who have been part of the church, we’ve slowly seen more begin to come. It finally feels like momentum is starting to build. It is a great start, and we look forward to seeing where God takes things from here.

As the holidays arrive, we’re really looking forward to taking some time to just enjoy time with our family and with friends. We’ve already gotten the chance to spend some time with Kate’s mom and sister and her kids when we went to ride the “Santa Train” through the Royal Gorge. It was a great time and definitely got us all in the Christmas spirit! For Christmas we’ll spend a couple days up in the mountains skiing and then be back here for Christmas. Our friend Nicole is still staying with us, and her boys will be here for Christmas as well. Our small group all pitched in to help ensure they have a great Christmas.

As we think back on our second year here in Denver the one word that comes to mind is grateful. We are so grateful for the friends we’ve made here, for the experiences we’ve enjoyed, and for how we’ve seen God work in and through our family and our church. We are also so grateful for all of you who love and care for us and who have encouraged, supported, and prayed for us. We pray God’s richest blessing on you and yours this Christmas and into the New Year.

October Update

Fall has been slow to arrive this year in Denver, but you won’t hear us complaining! Locals tell us that this is a very unusually mild fall, but we are soaking in the beautiful sunny days and unusually-warm temperatures! And the beautiful fall colors and first mountain snow capping off the Rockies make for a pretty breathtaking sight!

As we approach the end of our second year here in Denver we are so grateful for all the things God has done and continues to do in our lives. The boys continue to grow at a shocking pace – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. They have both changed so much in the last two years. They barely resemble the toddlers they were when we first arrived (don’t believe me, check out this video from our arrival).

Ethan started kindergarten this year at our neighborhood school, Steele Elementary. True to his outgoing personality, he loves it. He quickly made many new friends and keeps us busy with after school play-dates around the neighborhood. Recently he told us he even has two “girlfriends!” In September we celebrated his sixth birthday with a party at Chuck-E-Cheese (mom and dad will be glad when we outgrow that place) with friends from the school and our neighborhood, and Kate’s mom and sister came down with his cousins Lily and Caroline too. Of course sports remains a big part of Ethan’s life. Shortly after finishing tee ball season, Ethan jumped right back into soccer. This is the third season we’ve played with the same team as part of the Fusion Soccer Club. It’s been great to track with the same families the last 18 months and to see the kids develop together. One of the highlights of this season was the team getting to play at halftime of the University of Denver vs. Penn State soccer game!

Andrew is still doing preschool three half days a week, but he doesn’t like it any better than he ever has! Most days start with the question, “Do I have to go to school today?” While he may not love it, school has definitely been good for Andrew. He’s still pretty reserved, but interacting with new kids at school is definitely helping him come out of his shell. Andrew was very excited to sign up to play soccer for the first time this fall. Unfortunately he wasn’t as excited to actually play soccer when game day came along. Sitting with mom and drinking juice seemed much more attractive. Of course he wasn’t alone . This team of 3 and 4-year olds had a pretty hard time staying focused on playing the game, but by the end of the season they actually made a lot of progress.

Kate continues to stay busy keeping our family organized and her work at Ronald Blue & Company. Ethan starting school has opened up even more for her to do including volunteering as a room mom, going on field trips, getting involved with the PTA, and keeping track of Ethan’s busy play date schedule! But it hasn’t been all work for Kate. Continuing a new tradition, her friends Niki and Jennifer came out from Atlanta over Labor Day for a girls’ weekend in the mountains. They enjoyed hiking, mountain biking, and most of all a brief respite from the daily duty of being moms! Kate also recently traveled back to Atlanta for meetings with her team which also gave her a chance to see some friends (and to catch the Braves’ last playoff game). These trips are always a mixed blessing – great to see friends and colleagues but very hectic and tiring.

Stephen survived coaching tee ball for both boys and rolled right into coaching Andrew’s soccer team, maybe his toughest challenge to date. Three and four-year olds aren’t the most focused or coachable group, but the kids all had fun and seemed to get better as the season went along. Of course working for New Denver Church and doing part-time I/T contracting continues to fill most of Stephen’s working hours. The last few months have been very defining for our young congregation. We’ve had some good people leave the church over differences in opinion over mission and strategy, which is always disappointing for any church but especially so in a small church plant. However, God has brought so many more people whose heart beats with ours and share our desire to reach this community with the love of Jesus. We have seen slow and steady growth in our weekend attendance (hitting our all-time high in September), added new small groups this fall, and have seen new leaders stepping up to fill the needs that growth brings. Most exciting for us have been the friends and neighbors who have no church background or affiliation who have begun taking steps of faith. We feel like these are the people that God brought us to Denver for, and after almost two years of planting seeds and watering, it’s encouraging to see the first signs that he is at work and using us in these people’s lives.

We continue to deepen in our love for this city we now call home. As we continue to invest in relationships and see real friendships blossom, we are so thankful that God has planted us here for this season of our lives. As we’ve been intentional in the process of building community with friends and neighbors, people are beginning to take notice. Several neighbors have made comments to us at how different our block is since we’ve arrived and how people seem to be growing in relationship with one another through us. Through dinners, cookouts, and front-porch conversations we believe that these new friends are getting a taste of the Kingdom of God and the love of Christ. Please continue to pray that God will open opportunities for us to be used to help these friends begin or progress in their relationship with him.

We’ve also made some special friends who have become a special part of our family. Back in April we met Nicole and her sons Aidan and Christopher at McDonald’s. They began attending New Denver and we soon learned that they were homeless and living in temporary housing. When they were forced to leave a shelter and didn’t have a good option for a place to stay, we invited them to stay with us. They all lived with us for a couple weeks until Nicole found another shelter and left hoping to get help from the programs and services offered there. We hadn’t heard from Nicole and the boys since this summer and were unable to get in touch with her. Then a few weeks ago we got a call from her at the hospital. It turns out they had bounced in and out of several shelters and had been living in a motel on the south side of town when she called for help. The boys are now living with their grandfather and Nicole is staying with us while we sort out how to help her get her life headed in a positive direction. She is a great mom and wants a better life for herself and her boys. But bad decisions and difficult circumstances continue to make this difficult for her. Please pray for Nicole – that she would get opportunities to improve her situation and that she will take advantage of them. Please also pray that God would give us wisdom in how to best help her.

If you read this far, thank you. Thank you for caring enough for our family to check in and keep up with us. Your prayers and encouragement are fuel for the journey.

July Update

The Redden family has been enjoying a great summer and staying busy as usual. We’ve had our share of hot days, but after talking with friends and family back in the south we quickly count our blessings! As usual we haven’t stayed still for long, with a few trips to see Kate’s family at Willow Creek Ranch in Wyoming and a big trip east (Kate and the boys to North Carolina to visit her aunt and grandmother, meeting Stephen in Nashville to see his parents, and then a drive to Atlanta to visit friends) beginning this week.

Ethan wrapped up soccer season in May and rolled right into tee ball. This has been a great season for him as his coordination has really started to come together, and he has made so much progress in hitting, fielding, and throwing. He also finished his time at St. John’s Lutheran School’s early learning center program and will be starting kindergarten next month. He’s very excited to go to the “big guys school,” Steele Elementary, in our neighborhood and is as eager as ever to meet new friends. He’s still our little extrovert!

Andrew finally got his wish to get off the sidelines and into the game, playing t-ball this summer – his first organized sports team. Despite the occasional inning that he’d rather sit in mom’s lap and drink Gatorade than play, he’s done great. He’s also still attending St. John’s Lutheran School’s pre-school program two half days a week, and we’ve seen a significant drop in the number of tantrums at drop off over the last few months! Maybe he’s finally getting used to going to school! Andrew continues to grow, and we enjoy seeing his personality emerge more and more each day. He becomes more and more independent each day, but Kate is grateful that for now he’s still mama’s little boy!

This has also been a great summer to continue cultivating friendships with neighbors and friends here in Denver. Stephen bought a smoker and has been doing his best to teach our neighbors that barbecue is a noun and not a verb! We’ve hosted a couple cookouts at our house, including having most of our neighborhood and most of New Denver Church over after our worship service on July 4th. Kate has also continued developing friendships with some of the women on our block. Deep friendships take time and effort to cultivate, but we’re encouraged by the people God has planted in our lives.

Stephen learned that you should never volunteer to “co-coach” kids’ sports, because when no one else volunteers that makes you the coach! That’s the situation he found himself in this summer when he volunteered to help with both the boys’ t-ball teams, and no one else volunteered. Keeping up with practice and game schedules for two teams has been a challenge, but with two active boys that doesn’t seem to be getting any easier in the years to come!

We continue to be encouraged by the growth of the ministry of New Denver Church. Our congregation is still relatively small, but we are encouraged to see God clearly working in our midst. We continue to see a steady stream of new people every week, and we continue to add to our small community week by week. Most encouraging to us have been those we’ve befriended here in Denver who are far from God who are taking steps in their journey of faith. Starting a church is also not without its disappointments. We have seen several couples come to New Denver and leave within a few weeks or months, explaining that it just wasn’t a fit or that they hadn’t found something they were looking for. But in every case God has been faithful to bring encouragement and reminders to be faithful to the mission and vision that he called us to.

Redden FamilyWe are so grateful for all of you who read these updates and pray for our family and for everyone at New Denver Church. The work that we are doing here is bigger than we could ever have imagined, and we continue to find that in every way, God is bigger still. Thank you for all your prayers.

May Update

Spring has finally arrived in Denver…we think. Of course we’ve thought that a couple times so far this year and been surprised to look outside and see snow flurries! Just your typical springtime in the rockies! As the weather has warmed we’ve enjoyed getting back outside to enjoy the park, visiting with neighbors on our front porch, going to Rockies games, and watching Ethan play another season of soccer.

Yes, Ethan, our tireless little sportsman, finished up basketball and rolled right into soccer again. We’re playing with the Colorado Fusion Soccer Club again this year, which is great, because this program keeps the same team together season to season so we’re getting to know the parents and kids better than other sports leagues we’ve done. We also got Ethan up on the slopes again several times before ski season ended. He continues to progress and even was able to do a few blue (intermediate level) slopes on our last trip! Ethan is also starting to get excited about starting kindergarten this fall and keeps asking about when he gets to go to his “new school,” the local elementary school in our neighborhood.

We’re slowly coming to grips with the fact that our little Andrew isn’t a baby anymore. In April he turned three and as with Ethan, we’re finding that “terrible threes” may be more appropriate than “terrible twos” in our household! We had a big birthday party for Andrew with friends from church and from our neighborhood. We had snacks, cake, ice cream, and the big hit of the day, a jumpie house! After months of frustration watching his big brother play sports, Andrew is finally getting his turn. We just signed him up for tee ball for the summer, and he’s so excited! We’ll see how tee ball for three year olds turns out…Stephen’s still praying they don’t ask him to coach!

Kate continues to wear more hats than anyone else in our home and doing her best to keep her three boys in order! She continues her work as a financial planner with Ronald Blue & Company and recently got involved with an association of Christian financial planners called Kingdom Advisors. She still loves what she does and feels that it is the ministry that God has given her. She also stays involved with her family’s ranch in Wyoming, Willow Creek Ranch at the Hole in the Wall, helping her mom and sister however she can. In April Kate traveled with her sister to Seattle and to the San Juan islands off Washington to celebrate her upcoming birthday (we won’t mention which one this is but it starts with 4 and ends with 0). They had a great trip and both enjoyed getting away from the normal busyness life for a little while.

Stephen remains busy working in his role as a pastor at New Denver Church. In April he had the opportunity to preach a three-week series entitled The Good Life. He enjoys the opportunity to preach and teach but is very grateful to be part of a teaching team so that he doesn’t have the pressure of doing it every week! Things continue to go well at New Denver, and we continue to be encouraged by what we see God doing every week at our church. Starting a church from nothing is hard, slow, tireless (and sometimes thankless) work, but it continues to be our driving passion. Life hasn’t been all work for Stephen though. It took him a little while to get motivated, but he finally began scheduling days to get away for some snowboarding this season and loved every minute of it. With summer approaching he’s ready to put down the board and pull the backpack out of storage! In the midst of all that we also made time to celebrate the last of Stephen’s 30s with a little birthday trip to the Rockies game with some friends. As you can see from the picture, Andrew didn’t quite make it all the way through the game!

At the end of April we got the chance to be a part of a very special first for our church. We traveled back east to North Carolina for Stephen to officiate the wedding of our good friends Matt and Molly – the first wedding for New Denver attenders. Matt and Molly were at one of our first informational meetings for New Denver and have been committed members from then on. They’ve been in our small group for a little over a year now, and it was such a joy to be part of their special day. Of course the traveling Reddens didn’t miss the opportunity to take the whole family out for a visit to Kate’s aunt in Chapel Hill, NC and her grandmother in VA. We always seem to be traveling somewhere don’t we?!?

Thanks for continuing to track with us on this journey. We are so grateful for your friendship and your support along the way. Please stay in touch and let us know what’s going with you, and remember, you’re always welcome to come visit us in Denver!

February Update

Looking up the ski lift from the Cascade in Vail

Thinking back to where we left off with our last update, it seems like time has flown! After a great holidays in Virginia and North Carolina with family we were back in Denver and really hit the ground running! Being away from Denver for a few weeks gave us a great appreciation to be back in the city that has become our home. The excitement we felt to get back was a real confirmation of how much we love this place and that we know God has us right were he wants us for now.

As you probably know, we’re not a family that sits still easily, and 2010 has started with quite a lot of traveling for all of us. In January we traveled to Casper, WY for the first family business meeting for Willow Creek Ranch , Kate’s family’s ranch in central WY. This was the first time we all gathered together since Kate’s dad’s passing to discuss how to best manage the ranch. His vision and expertise are sorely missed but he would certainly be proud of how his wife and girls are stepping up to continue his legacy. One of the things we love about being in Denver is being closer to Kate’s family and being more involved with the ranch.

Kate and Stephen have both had trips for work over the last couple months. Kate traveled to Atlanta for Ronald Blue & Company’s annual meetings in January, and Stephen just got back from the Ecclesia Network’s national gathering in Washington, DC. As a result both Kate and Stephen have felt a little like off and on single parents this year (though admittedly Stephen got some help from Kate’s sister Kristen while Kate was gone).

Of course all our trips haven’t been business. We’ve made time to take a couple trips up to the mountains to ski a bit. We did a few days at Vail as a family, and Kate and Stephen have taken turns taking Ethan up for the day to Loveland and to Keystone. Ethan really loves to ski and continues to get better, as evidenced in this video where he takes off and leaves mom in the dust!

One step off the trail, you're up to your waist in powder!

Stephen also got the chance to go with some guys from New Denver on a “hut trip.” There is a great system of remote mountain cabins managed by the 10th Mountain Division where you can hike in (actually snowshoe this time of year) and experience some of Colorado’s amazing back country. The highlight of the trip was a snowshoe hike at night – with no flashlights or headlamps! The night was so clear and the moon so bright reflecting off the snow that it wasn’t necessary to have any other light!

Ethan continues to keep us busy following his sports career. We just wrapped up his first season of basketball and will start soccer next week. Ethan had fun playing basketball, but it’s not his favorite. I think football is still his first love with soccer a close second (much to his daddy’s delight). Andrew continues to be our “little dictator” – swinging the mood of our household with all his two-year-old attitude shifts! He has warmed to his babysitters but still would rather do anything except go to school. Still, in his best moments he keeps us all laughing and can melt your heart with his sweetness. Both our boys are such an amazing blessing.

Things continue to move forward for New Denver Church. The most exciting news is our new location at Bonnie Brae Church which is just about six blocks from our house! A friend of Stephen’s from a Bible study here in Denver connected us with the church after they contacted him seeking a young new church to meet in their building. After a couple months of discussions both churches felt like it was a good partnership. Though we continue to emphasize that our church is about people, not a building or programs, we are excited to have a place to call “home” for our worship services for the foreseeable future. We have learned so much this year about the culture of Denver and just how difficult it is going to be to grow a church in this climate, but we are encouraged by steady growth of our small congregation and remain committed to the vision God called us to here in this city.

If you’ve read this far, I’ll say again – thank you for caring enough to track with us, and a special thanks to all of you who pray for us. This move to Denver is the adventure of a lifetime, and we are loving every minute of it. But it is not without significant difficulties and disappointments. We feel a dependence on God in this season of our life that is unlike any time before. More than ever we are grateful for all our friends and family that pray for us and for New Denver Church. Please let us know if there are ways we can pray for you as well – either post a comment or send us an email (to stephen[at] or kate[at]

Year-end update

We saw ten different states this year. We drove 1500 miles across country moving from Georgia to Colorado. We drove 1200 miles from Colorado to Tennessee for Thanksgiving. We flew from Colorado to North Carolina for Christmas. We moved three times and lived in three different houses. I think to say that this was the busiest year our family’s ever seen might be an understatement! Read more