Today (February 11th) we celebrate one year in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. On this day we finished our journey from Houston, Texas, a state I had lived in most my life, to the mountains of north western, Colorado. Two days earlier we loaded up two massive uhauls, a trailer and an SUV with all our stuff and drove to the mountains.
Last night Angie and I sat in our hot tub overlooking the Rockies reflecting on our highs and lows for the year, everything God has shown us this year and how much we’ve learned about living in the beautiful semi-remote location.
So here are my highs from this very adventurous first year in Steamboat Springs (this is not the church blog…that anniversary is on Wednesday)
- A Healthy Church
In the northwest, most people don’t go to church “to be religious” “because their parents made them when they were kids” or “because it’s the right thing to do.” People here go to church because they are seeking God, because they want to grow, and need community. These motivations produce a different type of Christian and it is refreshing. I am very grateful for the year of rest I have received in my calling to be a pastor in this American mission field. God has used Anchor Way to restore my calling and my heart for the people of God.
- Laid Back Culture
I was recently back in Texas. It seemed every metro area, even Waco, brought out the worst in me. Either it was from road rage to stress about being on time. I have often compared Steamboat to a surfer town. It really is. For example, businesses close on good powder days. It is weird to be aggressive about climbing some corporate ladder. Time is mostly relative. The relaxed, safe, small town community has been a high to me.
- Summers, Balloon Rodeo, River Floating, Mountain Biking & Balloon Glow
It was a perfect summer day. It was July, and it was about 80 degrees all day. We woke up at 6:00am and from our deck watched the balloon rodeo, enjoyed monkey bread and great coffee. After that a friend and his son invited Austin and I to go mountain biking with them. Then we went downtown and got one-dollar ice creams. Came home. Inflated our river tubes drove 1 minute and 30 seconds down to the river that runs below our home and floated the rapids for an hour. Came home ate dinner and went to the Balloon Glow at the foot of the ski mountain. As we sat in the grass with thousands of people my kids ran free and I had no concern for their safety. It was perfect carefree day. I hope it will happen again this year!
- Skiing with friends
Yep. Love it every time. Grateful for the friendships God has provided for us here and I love watching my kids get good at the sport of skiing.
- Epic Hikes
Finally, some of my favorite memories of the year are hiking to some of our nearby peaks. I have always been an outdoor lover. Before moving here, I would dream about days when I would get to hike summits with my kids. Last year we hiked two peaks that stand out. One was Rabbit Ears. A famous pass you drive by on your way into town from the front range (Denver). The 5k hike was a little hard but an absolute joy! The second hike was Hahn’s Peak. “One of the most dramatic peaks in Colorado.” It is only a 10,000 footer but the hike is absolutely gorgeous. Surrounded by lush pines, aspens and mountains. The impressive peak is easily noticed from almost every mountain in the Yampa Valley. When we see it, I am always quick to remind the kids, “hey, you climbed that!”
Honestly, I could go on. The wildlife like moose, bears and foxes we encounter on a regular basis. The friendships being forged. Going into the woods and cutting down a Christmas tree. It has been a wonderful year.
That doesn’t mean it has not been without challenge. Living out here can be hard, and maybe one day we will figure it out. In the meantime, the good days certainly outnumber the hard days. I am grateful that God has moved us here to serve Him in this beautiful community.
Thanks for reading, caring, and praying,