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).

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