Fall has arrived in Denver, and it feels a bit like winter back in the south!! We had a very unseasonably cold week last week and actually got our first snow! The boys were so excited to get outside and start playing in it. I think they’ve fully adapted to life in Colorado! A lot has happened since our last update that we’re eager to share with you.
As a family we have been doing our best to enjoy all the great things that our new home has to offer. Last month we did our first family camping trip with the Malecs and had a great time (despite the trip getting cut short by rain). We went up to Rocky Mountain National Park and camped one night and toured the park. We even got to see a little snow when we went up the mountain! We’re also finding that Denver is a sports-crazy town! The whole town is buzzing about the Broncos’ 5-0 start, and even though the Rockies made the baseball playoffs, Stephen refuses to jump on the home-team bandwagon and continues cheering for his Dodgers. Ethan got a special treat recently when Stephen took him to a Colorado Rapids game – Denver’s pro soccer team.
We have also been very intentional about getting to know our neighbors better. It helps that there are lots of young kids on our block and that Ethan and Andrew love to meet new people! Kate helped organize a block party last month, and it was so much fun to spend a beautiful afternoon getting to know our neighbors better. We continue to hope and pray that God will give us opportunities as a family to be used as a redemptive and life-giving presence in this neighborhood.
Last month was a big one for Ethan who turned five years old on September 23rd! We did a party for him in Washington Park near our home with pizza, a football-field cake, and (too many) presents. Kate’s mom, aunt Harriet and uncle Dick were all in town to celebrate with us, as well as kids from New Denver Church, Ethan’s school, and from our neighborhood were there. It was so fun to see the friends that God has brought into our lives over the last eight months gather together to celebrate our precious Ethan. On top of getting a year older, Ethan has been busy as a two-sport athlete the last couple months! He signed up to play in the fall season with the Fusion Soccer Club (the same group we played with in the spring), but he also begged us to play kindergarten flag football. Despite swearing to never do two activities at once, we caved and let him play both. He loved both, but for whatever reason, he is obsessed with football. Kate hopes it is a passing obsession! 😉 Ethan started pre-kindergarten in September at St. John’s Lutheran School near our home. With a cutoff date of October 1 for kindergarten, Ethan could have started this year, but we decided to hold him back to make his transition into school a bit easier. He attends three full days per week, and so far he’s loving it.
Andrew is doing well, but it is safe to say we are passing through the “terrible” part of the “two’s.” His vocabulary continues to grow, and he is expressing himself more and more. Often those expressions include “no”, “mine”, and “wo-wee dat” (translation: I don’t want that). But as Kate often says, “It’s a good thing that God made two-year-olds so cute, because otherwise no one could stand them!” Just when you’re at the end of your patience with him, Andrew will do something adorable and melt your heart. We were able to get Andrew a spot in the preschool where Ethan goes to school, and he goes to school two half days a week with his big brother. Unfortunately he doesn’t enjoy it quite as much as Ethan!
Kate continues her work with Ron Blue & Company and is finding a little bit more margin in her schedule with Ethan in school three full days per week. At the beginning of October she traveled back to Atlanta for meetings with her company and was also able to meet with several clients and friends. Each trip back to Atlanta reminds us how much we left behind and how much we want to continue to maintain the relationships we built in the years we spent there. Here in Denver Kate has continued to work tirelessly on our house. After we exhausted the major house projects (that we could afford), she has steadily done all the little things that have transformed our house into a wonderful home.
Stephen has had a busy couple months as well. In October, New Denver Church began meeting for worship services twice per month. We had been gathering with a small core of people monthly to that point but felt that it was time to step up the frequency and the production quality of our gatherings. Stephen was excited to have the opportunity to preach at our opening service and will be preaching again on November 15th (if you pray, he’d appreciate your prayers – it will be a challenging message on the purpose of suffering from Philippians 1). While this is a significant step for us, and we are pleased with the turnout at our first service (about 60 adults and about 18 kids), the most gratifying thing for Stephen has been the growth of community at our church. We currently have about 40 people who meet weekly in homes to share their lives and grow together in their relationship with Christ and one another. We have also been excited to see the leadership culture that is rising at New Denver Church through our Leadership Development Program and volunteer leaders. It is both exciting and humbling to see other people investing themselves in the vision we’ve had for so long and came to Denver for.
In September Stephen traveled back to Atlanta to be with our friends Bryan and Kathryn Apinis as they mourned the loss of their baby, Samuel Erik. Bryan and Kathryn have beautifully captured this journey on their blog, and it is well worth taking some time to read. It was a difficult trip emotionally, but it was good to be with friends even in difficult circumstances. It was a reminder of how precious life is, how risky and beautiful it is to hope in a broken world, how great is the hope we have in Christ, and how beautiful the Church, the Body of Christ, is in the worst of circumstances. If you think about it, continue to pray for this family and for God’s grace in their life.
We continue to be grateful for the story that God is writing in and through our family – and our growing church family – here in Denver. As always we are grateful for you following and praying for us!