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!
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]thereddens.com or kate[at]thereddens.com).