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.