Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Updates & Stories

Hi Everyone!

I hope you are all doing well! As I write this the sun is shining which is AWESOME - since most of February has been overcast. The Elk are out in full force as we drive to and from steamboat each week (they like to steal food from all of the cows). And things are going great. There is a lot to update you on as we move into March, so here are a few things to catch you up.

Christmas Eve (better late than never)

Many of you know already but our Christmas Eve Service went great! I preached at two services- one further north in the old Hahn's peak village school house, and one at NRCC in the charter school. For several years if has been a community tradition for some of the folks that live in Hahn's peak village to have a Christmas Eve service at the historic school house and this year I was asked to speak. It was a lot of fun and we actually used the school bell to call people in - which was ... Awesome! We had about 30 people show up to that at about 5PM. Then 2.5 hours later we had our service for North Routt Community Church and it was a blast! It was an absolutely packed house (We ran out of chairs) of a 100 people and we were able to join together and celebrate the birth of our King. It was really special. Here are a few pictures from the night.

A few people in the back (mostly from the Ranch) were troopers as they stood most of the night. 

There is Andrew (left) & Bubba (Right) leading us in worship. (2 of 6 who helped lead us) 

More worship!
Singing "Silent Night" with candles lit

It was an awesome night to see the community gather like that! Right after service Suz and I packed up and jetted off to Indianapolis/Chicago for the holidays, which brings us into another story...

The nightmare that was Christmas travels (At least Denny's is open on Christmas day)

Suz and I were all hopped up on caffeine and ready to drive through the night (we had left Clark around 11PM). The plan was to drive straight to Kansas City so we could caravan with Suzanna's sister and brother in-law,  Bekah and Andrew. But sometimes plans don't work out. Instead we didn't even make it to Kansas before our Subaru said, "you know what? I don't really feel like driving anymore" - which sounded a lot like our engine popping, followed by a horrible clicking noise. Long story short we broke down at 6AM, Christmas day in Stratton Colorado - which with no disrespect, it is in the middle of nowhere... So we get the car towed to Burlington CO which actually had some shops. We get our car to 1 of their two shops and have our very nice tow guy drop us off at a mom and pop motel. It was so "mom and pop" that the owner (an older lady) came out in a bath robe because she had been in the shower (haha). After she heard our sob story (I also told her I was a pastor) she took pity on us and gave us a room for free. It was incredibly nice and took a little of the sting out of a pretty crummy Christmas. In between naps and HGTV  we tried to figure out how the heck we were going to get to Indianapolis without a car (The shop was closed for the day and I was pretty sure the engine was shot) and no rental car for 200+ miles from where we were. So we did the only thing we could- we walked to the nearby gas station/Dennys to eat our feelings...And because of the emotional state we were in - it was glorious. However, although we went back to our room full we still didn't know what to do. At this point the family knew we were stuck and Andrew (brother in-law) offered to come get us and drive us back to KC - A total of 12 HOURS! Even though we felt bad, we accepted and he came and brought us back to KC and from there we all decided to drive through the night again (I know, what were we thinking). They let Suz and I borrow their second car and we hit the road. Well to close the story we got to Indy and Chicago, so it all worked out. I turns out the Subaru blew it's engine and needed a replacement. We decided to go ahead and replace it since the cost was much less than its worth. We would have never been able to afford it if it wasn't for the generosity of family that graciously chose to foot the bill for us and we could not be more thankful! So that was the condensed Saga of our trip back to the Midwest

Since we've been back 

In the months that we have been back a lot has happened. We are so thankful for the ways that God has worked in and through our community here. We had one of my mentors Keith Carlson come and stay with us, which was a great encouragement. We are continuing to meet every week for service and every month for community dinners in each others homes. We now want to have a community outreach dinner at the charter school for anyone and everyone who wants to come and eat with us. We are thinking of doing that every other month and advertising it in the community. Also this month, I participated in a 2 day training program called ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) because suicide is a surprising, yet glaring issue within our community. Also NRCC is in the process of partnering with a group called REPS (Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide) to run a clinic up in Clark for the whole community to be trained in ways to be aware of warning signs and how we can ask questions and connect others to help and resources. Suicide is such an area of brokenness here and we want the Church to step into that brokenness to offer love and hope to those who feel hopeless. And to close with, we finally got the internet at home!!! We were without the internet at home for about a month and a half, which was preeeetty awful. So since we are hooked up to the world wide web you can now expect more updates from us in the near future.

Please let us know if you have anymore questions, comment below or email me at
We also have a Facebook page for the Church that will give some info on whats happening at the church, so be sure to check it out if you are interested!

Thanks so much for your love and support,

Dave & Suz

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Church Update

Hi Everyone,

        I hope you are all doing well and had an awesome Thanksgiving! Suzanna and I are feeling the effects of our first winter in the mountains. We are happy to report that we're doing just fine after our first few weeks, which is a good sign because we have about 6 more months... But both of our cars now have snow tires on (I bet there are a few of you that didn't know those existed) and we have a full supply of canned goods for hot chili's and stews, so we are ready for it!

        It is hard to believe Suzanna and I have already been out here for 7 months. Time has flown by and we feel blessed as we look back on all that God has done out here. Here are a few updates on how things have been going up here in North Routt.


Young Adult Group- We have been in the "off-season" for Vista Verde and lot of seasonal people are not returning and most of the winter returners are home until mid-December. So our group is about 1/3rd the size from the Summer. So we have decided to move from the charter school and instead we meet at our house or our friends place. There are 8 of us that meet every week to share a meal, worship, discuss the Book of Matthew, and then pray together. As we have moved into each others homes, with a smaller group we have grown a lot closer and the conversations are very rich. This group has been a HUGE blessing for Suzanna and I to build great relationships with people our age.

Community Gatherings- On the last Friday of every month we gather in someones home to share a meal, worship and pray together. We have had two so far and they have been a blast! Each time About 20 people were crammed into the downstairs of our cabin for a whole mess food and bunch of delicious sides. We worship together and spend time in prayer. It has been a really meaningful experience for us and we have had a lot of fun. The reason we started this is so that we could be intentional about how we do community. I had preached about community from the book of Acts and I thought that it would be good to actually try and live out the things that we read. We wanted to share our lives with one another in each others homes, with good food, worship and prayer. The plan is to continue this intentional practice more frequently as we share our lives together more and more as a community.


Discipleship- This has been a huge passion on my heart for the last few years. This passion has caused me to wrestle with the same question, Is the church in America making disciples of Jesus? Although, it is happening in pockets for sure, I would say as a whole, not so much. It seems as the church we have either neglected the great commission or we just assume we are fulfilling it through Sunday school and sermons. So I have been reading and developing (and taking notes from Grace Community Church) what it might look like if we got serious about making disciples like Jesus did. So the plan is to invite a handful of passionate disciples into a group study (with 12 core practices of discipleship) that we practice as a group, for about a year. Then after that year we are sent out to go and disciple 2-3 people in our lives through an intentional, consistent and committed relationship, where the "discipler" walks alongside, teaches and models what it looks like to follow Jesus in everyday life. For those of you who don't think this is suuuper boring here is an word doc that explains it in a little more detail. I am actually going to share this with the pastors of Steamboat in our next pastors meeting. My dream is that there could be "discipleship hubs" all over steamboat that are developing devoted disciples of Jesus. I think relational discipleship could could have a huge impact in a place like steamboat (which is 85% un-churched).

Small Groups- Another thing I am passionate about is small groups. Getting the church into close-knit groups that do life together and learn what it means to follow Jesus and live out the gospel in tangible ways. We want our community to be marked by the things have changed us, and shaped us as God's people. I think small groups are a great platform for a group of disciples to come together for fellowship, and to press into each others lives. I believe it is the kind of environment where the body of Christ can explore and practice what it means to be the church through gathering together and implementing the teachings of Christ in the context of genuine community (at least that is the hope!!)

Outreach- Over the past few months God has been showing me the different and unique needs up here for people. Almost every Wednesday I eat a pizza (pie and pint night!!) at the bar in the Roadhouse that is right down the road from our house (yes we have a couple of restaurants here). Every once in a while a local guy will share his life with me. A couple of them have given me a glimpse into some of the addiction, depression and loneliness that folks experience up here. There is a lot of hurt and brokenness that manifests itself in substance abuse and a crazy high suicide rate, which supposedly has continued to rise each year. So at NRCC we want to address these areas of brokenness and hopelessness with compassion, love and hope that's only found in Jesus. I have been able to connect with the principle at the charter school in Clark (where we meet for church) and he is excited about partnering in some way to address the needs of our community. In order to do that we want to develop an outreach team that can plan events, gatherings and initiatives that take intentional steps toward living out the gospel in more tangible ways and serving those around us, so that we can be salt and light to the community of Clark Colorado.

As we look back on our first 7 months here we can see just how much God has blessed us with relationships, ministry partners and loads of encouragement even in the face of challenges. We are so grateful for your continued support and prayer as God in his grace, continues to teach us how to lead others in humility. If you have any specific questions please don't hesitate to email me at

Thank you all so much!

Dave & Suzanna

PS: Stay tuned for a picture update from Suzanna

Monday, September 16, 2013

A New Addition... And It's Not Another Puppy!!

Well, I bet you think Suzanna is pregnant... sorry to disappoint.

Even though our new addition to Colorado is not another puppy but a human being, he is in fact a full grown man.

Meet Andrew Fackler

This is us hiking in the Zirkel Wilderness! 
Some of you already know but a friend of mine from Indianapolis moved out mid-August to work at the Ranch and help organize and lead our worship team. 

Back Story

I met Andrew when I was an intern at Access the young adult ministry at Grace Community Church. He was the worship team leader during my internship and I got to know him more and more especially as he joined our small group. Over the past year, we became good friends. 

Last March I went backpacking in the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. It was a last hurrah with my Indianapolis hiking buddies, Andrew and Kyle Affolder. We hiked for a few days and it was a great trip, even in spite of some real nasty weather and cold nights. One day Andrew and I were talking and out of the blue I asked Andrew to move out to Colorado. Our Conversation went something like this...

Me- "Hey, you should move out to Colorado and basically do what you are doing right now and get paid for it and then you can help lead worship for the church"

Andrew- "Get paid to hike and stuff?" 

Me- "Yeah, like guide trips and stuff at the Ranch"

Andrew- "Yeah, that would be sweet... but I don't want to just give up on culinary school. I want to do something that would at least be in that field"

....3 Hours Later....

Andrew- "Hey, you said the Ranch has really good food there, right?"

Me- "Uh huh, like really fancy, hoity toity a good way"

Andrew- "So they have chefs there then?"

Me- "yeah, really good ones!"

Andrew- "Hmm, maybe you could talk with the manager or something" 

-End Scene-

          Saturday August 17th Andrew hopped on a flight with Suz and I to Denver to start his new job as a line cook at Vista Verde Ranch. So far he loves it! In his first week he worked 60hrs, road a horse, rock climbed, hiked in the Zirkel wilderness and cliff jumped into mountain lakes and he led worship at church and for our young adult group. Since then he has continued to pour into the Church by leading worship and helping in any way he can. He has been a great addition to our ministry team. It is so cool to see how God has brought so many things together, so don't be surprised if any of you get called to come out here to help NRCC!

PS. He also fries up some mighty tasty trout while backpacking! 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Church Happenings... and a Puppy?!?

Hello Friends and Family,

          I'm really sorry for the major slacking on our blog updates! It has been crazy as we continue to get settled in, yet go full force into what God has for us out here. Let me give you a few updates on some of the stuff going on out here in northwest Colorado. This is the “Novel” version and Suzanna will come out with a “Picture Book” post with some photo’s documenting our adventures! So, for those of you who hate reading there are better things on the horizon…

NRCC- Sunday Mornings and General Church Development

First, let me give you all an update on how the North Routt Community Church is coming along.

Growth: It has been an exciting couple months as God begins to bring together a great community. The Church has been growing, although with some fluctuation between some weeks. Although, it’s never just about numbers, it is exciting to see the community that is starting to gather with us. There have been many weeks where we have to bring out more chairs, with a couple weeks pushing 60 people, with a full parking lot and a packed house! If we start having more people, I won't know what to do... Ha, just kidding! kind of...

Development (Church Mission): More importantly than just growth in our numbers, is how NRCC is developing as a church. That is my main goal and passion. In mid-June we had a leaders meeting after service and we went through the concept of Church mission. Trying to answer the questions, did God give the church a mission? If so, what is it? It was a great conversation and the meeting went great! I proposed that the mission of the church is to be disciples (to become like Jesus) and to make disciples calling others to a transformational relationship with Jesus, thus attempting to fulfill the great commission. Dealing with the “gathering” as a body to exalt our God and encourage one another to become more and more like our lord and savior AND our “scattering” going among our community to live like Jesus did and share the good news of grace, hope, love and reconciliation offered through Him. We want to call those near and far to put their trust in Jesus and continuing to walk alongside them, showing and teaching them what it means to follow Jesus in a relational discipleship process. Our leaders had great feedback and seem to be on board with this simple mission to be disciples and make disciples.

Preaching: Man, preaching every week (actually twice a week with Monday nights) is hard! But it has been incredibly rewarding. God has been teaching me how I should not take it lightly. He is reminding me that I am representing Him and His word and I better not try and twist it to make people happy or avoid the claims of scripture that are hard. For those of you who don’t know, I have had opportunities to preach at a few different ministries over the past 3 years but I never have preached back to back weeks before my coming here and oddly enough 3 years ago I used to be terrified of speaking in front of people. 3 years ago I didn't want to have anything to do with preaching. But it is funny how God slowly coaxed me into this thing. He has continued to shape me in this gift and give me joy in it! I am very thankful that he pushed me into this area of ministry, that if left up to me I would have avoided. 2 weeks ago we made it through an entire series about Jesus called the “I Am” Series (not so clever, I know…) about the I am statements of Jesus found in John’s Gospel. This past week I introduced a new 10 week series on the Church where we will look at the biblical church and try and discover what God has called us to as his people. I am very passionate about his topic and I have loved studying it more and more and I am really excited about how God will show up in our community and hopefully empower us to better be his Church, rather than just attend it! Last Sunday we shared in communion as a church for the first time, which was very exciting and meaningful for me to share that with these wonderful people! We will take communion as a church every month from now on, although I would actually like to do it every week (In my opinion we could never preach the gospel to ourselves too much!!) and we will try to move toward that.

Monday Nights- Young Adult Ministry

          We are continuing our young adult ministry through NRCC which has been incredibly fruitful and I love how God is choosing to work through our simple little meetings together.
For those of you who don’t know the general premise of our meetings together.
  • We worship- We worship with a few songs in the beginning and it is plugged in worship which is pretty advanced for us in North Routt.
  • 15 minute Teaching- I teach a short lesson that is discussion driven with a few questions to lead us into a time of group discussion. All the teachings are geared toward discovering what it means to be a devoted disciple of Jesus Christ.
  • Discussion- We break up into tables of 5 or so and discuss and process the aspect of             discipleship that was just taught.
  • We worship some more- Then we finish with a song or two.
        God has been working through our discussion and discovery process. We have had a few people come who are unsure of this whole Jesus thing and defiantly a little skeptical and searching. The discussion has led to some great opportunities, even for me to follow up with someone one on one and hear his story and present the bigger picture of the Christian world-view and the broader narrative that is written throughout scripture… the good news that God wants relationship with us even in spite of our brokenness and sin! So, please pray for continued opportunities and for hearts to be soften and receptive to God’s spirit!!

Children’s Ministry is up and Running- Suzanna and Company Are Awesome!

        After weeks of development and conversations our children’s ministry is up and running for our handful of kids. We wanted our children’s ministry to be intentional and not just shove them in a room so their parents could relax. We wanted it to flow out of our mission, to be disciples to make disciples and we think this can begin even at a young age. A woman from our church had the idea of teaching the kids a lesson that correlates with Sunday’s message so that there is continuity between what they are learning and what their parents are hearing on Sunday mornings. So we have crafts and a lesson that portray the “big idea” or biblical concept from the sermon on Sunday. Then we send the kiddos home with a few questions they can ask their parents to continue to unpack the truth they learned at home with their family. We want to encourage spiritual formation in the family dynamic. We are excited about the possibilities of these kind of interactions, which hopefully bear fruit in between Sundays and inside homes. Suzanna has been organizing the volunteers making sure there is always 2 or more each Sunday, and her and a couple other girls have been developing and teaching the lessons. 

Puppy???- I mean really, how long did you think that would take?

We got a puppy!!! Yep it’s official and he is officially adorable. His name is Scout, he’s 10 weeks old and he is a border collie/ lab (we think) mix. We adopted him a few weeks ago from a shelter in Fort Collins, north of Denver. We love him but HOLY COW, a puppy is a lot of work!! They are like furry little infants, only we can’t slap a diaper on him. At first he needed to be let out every 2 hours, so we weren't getting good sleep for a while. But he can almost sleep through the night so we are no longer zombies.  Here is a pic to hold you over until Suzanna puts together our next “picture book” post.

Not a great picture of him but Suzanna has a lot of good ones on her camera that she will post

The Blooms are Headed Back to the Flatlands- Indy Bound!!

First off Grace Community Church is awesome! Let me explain why. Each year Grace, hosts a national (maybe global) leadership conference called Leadership Summit which is put on by Willow Creek Church, outside of Chicago. I was able to go last year as Grace Intern and this year they have generously chosen to fly Suzanna and I out for the conference and almost a week of personal development with my 3 mentoring Pastors at Grace (David Bell, Keith Carlson, Aaron Elliot). This will be the week of Aug 4th- 9th. This is such a blessing for Suzanna and me to be poured into for about a week. Since we will be in Indiana we will take the week after the conference to spend time with friends and family. We are so excited!

So like I said this is the Novel(y) version of our blog post and Suzanna will follow this up with a picture book version to show you some of the stuff we have experienced (Mostly animals, and nature stuff but hey who are we talking about here?)

Thanks for your love, support and prayers. God is doing some cool work in Clark Colorado and we are just happy he has let us come along for the ride!

David & Suzanna Bloom

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Updates Galore!

Hey Friends and Family,

           Sorry I have been behind on the blog-o-sphere (I am pretty sure that is what the bloggers call it..). Although I am pretty sure you weren't staring at your screen refreshing your browser every 45 seconds, I do want to give you regular updates on our lives and how the church plant is going. So here are a few updates on the Blooms and what God is up to in North Routt, CO.

         First off, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!! 
We have been so blessed by your generosity and are almost completely pledged for our first        year (2013-214) in Colorado. Although, we still have to raise support for the 2014-2015 year, we are more than thrilled that we can move forward with our support for this year almost completely  funded. So for that we THANK YOU! We have felt so very loved and supported by you! 

If you want to send us anything (including support) our new mailing address is: PO Box 1123 
                                                                                  Clark, CO 80428

            Suzanna has started her orientation at the Ranch and she is loving it so far. She has been connecting with a lot of the girls at the Ranch and she has already been able to go on a trail ride on horseback. But I will let her elaborate on her adventures in another blog post but here is a picture of her and the horse she was able to ride, Dakota.
    Photo: Best buds #Dakota #thisguy #webothlovetoeat
    Suz giving a horse a "headlock". Just kidding they are friends.

            The church has been going great! Although numbers tend to fluctuate here in the summer, it was fun to have around 50 people gather at the charter school this past Sunday! It was also my first time preaching and it went well or at least they didn't through any rotten tomatoes at me. No, but the community was very encouraging and had kind words for me after my message. I spoke on the parable of the mustard seed and how God builds His Kingdom from humble beginnings (Mark 4:30-32); with that parable in mind I recounted the story of the early church and how God builds his Church in extraordinary ways through ordinary people (Acts 4:13). It was fun, and very much applies to our small Church! This next week (June 2nd) we launch into a new 7 week sermon series on the 7 "I AM" statements of Jesus found in John's Gospel. Starting June 2nd we are moving to weekly services, which is exciting! The week before this last we (May 19th) we had a cook-out and grilled a bunch of burgers and hot dogs and quite a few people came out. It was a great time to meet some more people. Leadership confession: The last two weeks I have ran out of stuff because I shot too low on the numbers. More people just keep coming, which is a good problem to have (I suppose guessing numbers is not my "spiritual gift").
         I thought I would throw in a picture of the space we meet at within the Charter School; just to give you a visual of where our weekend services take place. 

We set up two columns on the left and right sides of the room (facing opposite of the fireplace) with about 4-5 rows of 5 chairs in each column. We also set up a table for coffee and snacks on the right of the fireplace to welcome people in. It is an awesome space that is perfect for us.  

             We are also launching a young adult worship gathering (ministry within NRCC) that meets every Monday night at 7:30pm. We wanted to offer a space for young adults (18-20 somethings) to worship and discover what it means to follow Jesus in their current life context with other people in that same life-stage. We believe it is a crucial stage, in terms of figuring out who they are and what they are supposed to do. It is also a big need for the surrounding community because to our knowledge there is nothing really available for young adults. Oh, and I am also a "young adult" so I am excited to reach out and minister to that age group. Oh I also started to put together a NRCC Facebook page as our church website. 

              Well, that is all I will try and cram into one post. There is so much that has been going on, and so much more I could write. So if you have other questions, either ask us in the comment section below, email me at: or call my cell at: 630-346-8041

Thank you for your prayers and support!


Monday, May 20, 2013

Going West: Picture Book Edition

Hey all!

Here is a photo recap of our recent move out west to Clark, Colorado.  If you would like to read a more thorough summary of our move check out the Novel Edition.

Packing help from Kayley, Jeremy (not pictured), Elliott, & Grant

Saying goodbye to our first apartment

Loading up - thanks to Mom for all the Vitacost boxes!

Staying at Bekah & Andrew's house in Kansas City for the night - the weather was beautiful! 

Rockin' matching shades with this cupcake

Avery and Apaw

Aves & her Momma

The next day we made it to a Denver hotel and then woke up to THIS. 

And my dad, who stopped in Stratton, Colorado, woke up to this. 

Finally on the road again!

Lunch break in Idaho Springs

Descending into the 'boat from the last major mountain pass

Heading up our shared driveway with a view of Hahn's Peak

Upon pulling in, Dave immediately jumped out to take pictures of animals

Such as this sandhill crane, who was obviously thrilled that we showed up.
Ranger Chuck with his fleet

Home sweet temporary home. 

Hanging out at our new stomping grounds

A marmot catching some rays on the locally named "Whistle Pig Flats" 

Giving my dad a tour of the ranch while Dave was in a meeting...

New friends

Little Oliver, an orphan foal whose mother died giving birth to him

Fish Creek Falls mostly unfrozen and flowing from the snowmelt

Plaid pals

Whatta beaut. 

Walking to the annual Chili Cook-Off  at the Hahn's Peak Roadhouse

Loading up on green and red chilis

Pinata for the kiddos

Pictured at our table: the back of Reid's head, Dave, Me, Barb, Holly, Ben's arm, & Brandon

Kayaking the Yampa with my dad...

The prettiest skirt I've ever worn

Dad surfing upstream

Checking out a still very frozen Steamboat Lake (it has since totally melted)

We might be in the tourist phase for a long time

One of our two bald eagle sightings

Dad, Dave, & the "Suzaru"

Another sandhill crane - these squawking, monogamous pairs are everywhere. 

Group cabin pic

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Going West: Novel Edition

Right now, David and I are sitting in a local coffee shop in Steamboat Springs.  He has been catching up on emails and making connections like a good pastor while I have been making a grocery list and desperately trying to figure out just what I can grow here in a container garden with such a short and mild summer season (not much). We've been in Clark for a week and a half now and we are already catching onto local know-how like carefully strategizing our trips to Steamboat Springs to include grocery shopping, fueling up, and other errands.  We've learned that the "Open Range" signs mean cattle are free to roam anywhere they wish and a cashier at The Clark Store demonstrated the local hand gesture, the receipt of which will notify us when we've "made it."  For being over a thousand miles away from our midwest territory, we are feeling quite at home already.  Below, I've tried to summarize the chaotic, month-long blur that has been our experience of moving West (if you're anything like David you may prefer the Picture Book Edition).

The Preparations

The short season of preparation was marked by a very long to-do list, spending time with friends and family, and an utter dependence on the Lord.  Part of me would like to think that we were on top of things since we realized we were moving our lives to Colorado.  Truly, we did get a lot accomplished in the window from when we decided to pursue this opportunity in February to our moving at the end of April.  We wrote up support letters and tracked donations in a database.  David started this blog.  We checked the internet daily for good car options.  We spent a weekend in Chicago visiting family and doing a presentation.  We drove out in March to solidify housing.  We found someone to take on our apartment lease.  We ate as much YATS as we could.  Yet, as my brother once said when leaving two hours later than expected for a family vacation, "The Davis gene is very strong" and things did not truly get moving (literally) until a week before take off.  It was then I realized we weren't just shoving some essentials in a van to go to college for the year; we were moving every item we have accumulated from our marriage and our lives prior.

Added to the mix was a very stressful car search as nothing had turned up in our price range and parameters.  We spent a few solid days test driving promising cars only to learn from mechanics that they would be needing some hefty repairs.  As God's provision would have it, there was a car just minutes down the road from us that had what we were looking for.  Granted, the process of buying this car was dramatic in its own way and it does have some repair needs that we are aware of, but it was a full $2,000 less than a comparable car we had looked at.  We were thrilled to find this Subaru under $6,000 with lots of life left in it.

With the car purchase under wraps, we were finally able to move forward with a lot of the grunt work of moving.  My favorite job to give people was crumpling paper because the demand for it was high and my delegation capacities were low.  Even my 10 month old nephew, Grant, was able to contribute some crumpled paper with a side of slobber.  The car search had put us behind schedule, but only by a day, and ended up working beautifully as our small group and other friends came over on Sunday (April 28th) for a pizza dinner and to help us with the final push.  Before I had even finished my pizza, the guys began hauling out all the large furniture pieces to the trailer.  It was amazing how much progress was made in a few hours with 10+ people versus the two of us taking it on alone; it was a true picture of community.  The good-byes were very hard but we take comfort in knowing we will see them again relatively soon.

The Move

The following morning, April 29th, we did some last minute moving and cleaning before turning in our keys and setting off for Kansas City.  Our caravan included Dave in his 2001 Mitsubishi Mirage, my dad in his Dodge Dakota pulling his 14ft. utility trailer packed with our things, and me in the "new" car.  We made it to Kansas City without any issues (other than my dad discovering just how poor his gas mileage might be on this particular trip).  We had a great time visiting my sister Rebekah, bro-in-law Andrew, and niece Avery.  We also had some short, one-sided conversations with Baby Boy Jones, due in June.  We woke up to Bekah's amazing breakfast and the discouraging news that Denver was expecting snow just as we were to pass through.  After much consideration, we decided to at least try to make it to Denver and then wait the snow out.

The second leg through Kansas was, not surprisingly, uneventful.  My dad made it to Stratton, CO before turning in to a local motel there; he didn't want to be on the roads at night with possible rain/snow.  Dave and I made it to a Denver hotel and kept our eye on the weather the rest of the evening.  The weatherman must have patted himself on the back because when we woke up we saw the promised snow, product of Winterstorm Achilles.  We had gone from 70+ degrees in Kansas City to the lower 30's in Denver in the span of 24 hours.  A Colorado travel website confirmed that we shouldn't try to drive over any mountain passes that day and we didn't want to be too far away from my dad should his truck & trailer have issues. We decided to make the best of our unexpected day in downtown Denver and explored the city (mostly a warm, inviting Caribou).  My dad did some exploring of his own in the small town of Stratton, which was limited to his motel and a place called "Dairy Treat."

The following morning, May 2nd, we watched the road conditions like a hawk and continued on our way when all was clear.  We met my Dad in Idaho Springs, an old mining town west of Denver, for a lunch break.  When he came in he was running on sheer adrenaline after going over the first significant mountain inclines and declines with his truck & trailer.  Apparently, he had his pedal to the floor and was maxing out at about 40mph - but it was nothing a tuna melt couldn't temporarily fix.  I regretfully informed him we hadn't even crossed the main mountain passes yet.  Though the following passes were much higher, the roads were more gradual and the truck and trailer did exceptionally well.  When we all pulled into the driveway of our temporary home in Clark, both David and my dad looked like proud parents; my dad's modest V6 truck had carried a huge trailer of our things across the country and over mountains and David's car, well, made it without spontaneously combusting.  Our traveling saga officially ended to the sound of squawking sandhill cranes in the field nearby.

The Settling

We've spent the past week or so slowly unpacking (we haven't unpacked everything as this house may just be a temporary option) and tackling our "post-move" to-do list, which is strikingly similar in length to the "pre-move" to-do list.  Dave switched his phone service to Verizon so he could have what little bit of service is available up here, we set up a post office box at the Clark Store, and are going through the process of registering our car and getting new drivers licenses.  My dad stayed with us for four days before making the trek back to Indianapolis so he was able to do some exploring with us and had ample opportunity for his infamous food pics.  He and I were even able to go on a little kayaking tour down the Yampa River in Steamboat Springs where we learned how to maneuver white water kayaks and surf some small rapids.

The first Sunday we were here (May 5th) was an "off Sunday" for the church but there was a Annual Chili Cook-Off at the Hahn's Peak Roadhouse which we learned was a pretty big deal.  Long aisles of tables were dedicated to either "red" or "green" chili and the Moose Chili took first in the people's choice category.  We had our fill of chili and cornbread while visiting with church members and enjoying our first significant glimpse of the culture - an interesting hybrid of what David refers to as "Old West" and "New West."  Those attending included ranching families that have been around for generations as well as outdoor enthusiasts in their name brand technical clothing.

Following the chili cook-off, we met with the leaders of the church to become better acquainted and discuss the future of North Routt Community Church.  It was a really constructive time as lots of questions were asked and all expectations were brought to the floor.

The following Sunday/this past Sunday (May 12th), David and I attended our first service at NRCC, which was held in the local charter school.  It was everything we imagined it would be, in a great way!  It was a simple, unassuming yet beautiful space with lots of natural light and a stone fireplace. The worship was a basic set-up with a few acoustic guitar and song handouts.  The young kids would wander around quietly or play in the back of the room which was fondly reminiscent of my family's old "home church" days.  After the service we had another meeting with church leadership to go through the logistics of preparing for June 2nd - the day we have decided to start going weekly with church services (as opposed to the current every-other-week schedule).  We started to form teams (worship, hospitality, child care, etc.) to make sure we can make going every week a sustainable practice once we begin.

The Next Steps

Currently, David is facilitating a church cook-out for this coming "off" Sunday so we can continue to meet people and so the church can still have time set aside to fellowship.  He has met with a pastors cohort in Steamboat Springs and will be meeting with a pastor of the Rocky Mountain E-Free District this Thursday in Denver.  He is also working on his first sermon series.  As for me, I am assisting David with the church and biding my time until my orientation and training begins May 20th at the ranch.

We are so looking forward to what God has in store for this community and cannot wait to give you further updates!