Tuesday, December 19, 2017

2017 Christmas Card and Past Year Highlights!

2017 was a busy year! After cutting our Country Christmas album, it was all work and play. The work part is mostly boring to tell, although we do both enjoy our jobs. Erik's still doing commercial photography and video. Gelerie is an anesthesiologist working in Fort Collins/Loveland area. Finn is in the middle of 3rd grade and Aubrey has transitioned into high school. Photos tell the story of the fun stuff we did. 

This is also the place for our annual reflection. I (Erik) am finishing a year-long experiment with a group of friends: we're reading the Bible across the span of the year. The whole Bible, a few chapters at a time, day by day, then we get together once a week and discuss what we've found. I've read through it several times in the past on my own, journaling my way through it. But discussing it week by week has been a great experience. And you know what we found? We've found the story of a gracious, wildly generous Creator God who wants us to be in relationship with Him. If you'd like to read the story for yourself, you can. Find an easy-to-read Bible, and start. Here is a link to the day-by-day reading plan I used, and Here is the intro/how-to

It's our prayer that you find the peace and hope in a God of love who is returning some day to set this mess of a world right. If you know things are not as they should be and we as humans have done a poor job of fixing things ourselves, I invite you to come and see for yourself. Peace and hope await. 

2017 Highlights
Snow tubes for Christmas 2016
Rocky Mountain National Park - Building a Snow Cave
Tubing down the Grand Lake Nordic Center Sled Run
In May, Aubrey's Eighth Grade Graduation from Adventist Christian School.
Both grandmothers were able to attend.
Aubrey turned 14 this year in August. She is a couple inches taller than Gelerie now.
Erik is the BIG 50!
In June, we soaked up the sun in Maui with Gelerie's mom.

Napili Beach

Nakalele Blowhole

Enjoyed spending time in San Diego celebrating Gelerie's cousin Diane and Kevin Montondo's wedding
Kids enjoyed spending time with their cousins who were in Colorado for the summer
First backpacking trip for Finn. Went with our friends, the Aakkos.
After a brutal hike of approximately 1 mile we arrived at our destination.

Pathfinder Camporee in Custer, South Dakota with lots of rain in August
Erik receives Master Guide, the highest Pathfinder rank at Camporee
Erik and Gelerie celebrated their 25th Anniversary in August, always the day after Aubrey's birthday.
Erik decided to recycle Aubrey's cake. 
Aubrey's first Homecoming at her new school, Dayspring Christian Academy in Greeley
Lonetree Reservoir trying out the new kayak. Hurray for Craigslist!
Late summer in Grand Lake, Colorado
In October, Erik and his dad were fishing in Grand Lake, Colorado
We do enjoy hearing from you so please feel free to comment and we will be in touch! Visit when you can! If you give us a heads up, we could spend time in the mountains together.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

2016 Year in Review and Christmas Card!

2016 has turned out to be quite a year! 

November alone brought us the Cubs winning the World Series, President (elect) Trump, and Gelerie getting her car totaled in a crazy accident. Many of our friends are genuinely concerned about their lives, the future of our country and our planet. And rightly so. "Unpredictable" would be a safe word to use about the future. So what's the glue that keeps our sanity together? Our faith. 

I lack the faith that we exist because random chemistry, biology, and physics played in perfect harmony over billions and billions of sequential miraculous accidents driven by chance. I believe that we were made. Created. Gifted the life we have. I believe that God gave us freedom of choice. In that freedom, our ancestors chose poorly and and began millennia of devolution from our intended purpose. But CHRISTMAS IS THE PROMISE that the story doesn't end in self-destruction. Christmas commemorates the first Advent. Not many were ready for that kind of Savior or that kind of Kingdom. Then, as now, most were jockeying for power, influence, and money (both the religious and the secular). The Kingdom Jesus preached wasn't that kind of kingdom, and He didn't want to be that kind of king (nor His followers to be that kind of citizen). That kind of radical, anti-establishment talk got Him killed. But that wasn't the end. There was the resurrection and the promise: "I will come again." A second Advent. A new Kingdom. One that He sets up (not us). 

It's in discovery of the character of that King that we find hope, peace, and centeredness. Yes. I believe chaos will increase in nature, in politics, and in personal lives. But in the midst of those storms, there is the possibility of peace. If you are tired of the kingdoms of this world, the burden of selfishness, shame, anger, and fear… I invite you to investigate a better Kingdom. I've nothing to push (I too value freedom of choice). But if you're interested, I'd be glad to tell you about the hope I have in Jesus. Just ask. 

Erik & Gelerie

It's time again for our yearly highlights recap of what we have been doing this year.

Presidents Day Weekend Winter Retreat in Wyoming. This group slept in a snow cave.
Maui summer vacation with Grandpa and Grandma Stenbakken

For Erik's Birthday, Erik and Gelerie dove the shark tank at the Maui Ocean Center
Aubrey was certain that we would be eaten and that she and Finn would be left orphans. 
And yet, we survived. 

Later in June Erik summited Grays Peak via a 1200' couloir then over to Torreys Peak.
Grays e
levation is 14,278 ft., Torreys elevation 14, 275 ft. 
Hanging out with the Welch cousins
Erik did the Colorado Back Country Discovery Route traversing state from south to north on dirt roads.
Below is a single (long) exposure of one of the campsites. 

Aubrey is 13 and in 8th grade and Finn is 7 and in 2nd grade. Both doing well and continue to be
above average in our biased opinion. They keep life interesting. 
Erik is an instructor for our local church Pathfinder club and Aubrey is a Pathfinder Ranger.
Have enjoyed camping and other activities with Pathfinders.
Canoeing in Grand Lake, Colorado. We saw a moose in the water. It is the largest natural lake in Colorado
Hiking to Cascade Falls in Grand Lake area.
The group that made the 7 mile round trip to Cascade Falls before Erik fell in the water.
California cousins in October.
Pumpkin Carving with Friends and Family
Disney Land and California Adventure! 
California Adventure
Mid-November, Gelerie was unhurt after her car was rear ended and totaled by a Toyota Tacoma.
She was at a complete stop behind another stopped vehicle and the driver did not notice.
She replaced it with another Volvo XC70 (2004).