Saturday, December 26, 2015


This year found us celebrating the Christmas Eve candlelight service at Aspen Ridge.
Then, we continued our tradition of fondue for Christmas Eve dinner and cinnamon rolls for breakfast Christmas day.  The family came up on Christmas about 1pm and we made a ham for dinner.

With many demands from the business and the Cottage on all of us, we entered the Christmas season with the weight of much stress.  Unfortunately, through the exhaustion, much conflict has set in among us.  Thankfully, we were able to get past it all and celebrate our first Christmas together in Evergreen.  Mom, dad, and Shawnie even slept over the night of the 25th.
And ... we had a WHITE Christmas!!!!
We are are truly thankful to call Evergreen home, to be in this house and on this property.

It seemed to be a Minion Christmas for Sawyer.

Richie bought the kids a Kindle.  With the drive to Parker once a week, it will come in handy.

The kids got snowshoes from me ... with hopes that we might become a snowshoeing family.

The gifts were too many to list.
One of my favorite parts was watching the kids shop for each other.  The very lovingly and generously bought great gifts for each other.  It was a wonderful celebration!

Monday, December 7, 2015

CC Evergreen

Today was painful.
With pressure from our SM, Colleen Sprister, I thought we better visit Evergreen CC and consider changing communities and getting involved locally.
Melissa is the Ch-A director up here, with 3 kids in her class, 1 being her own, I was a bit skeptical, but I wanted to see her tutor.
Oh. my. goodness.
It was very difficult to sit in her class.
And lunch time with all the Foundations kids was out. of. control.

Much like my experience last year, I really enjoy the moms.  They seem like great ladies.
It's the entire experience - and the kids.
It's simply chaotic.
It's loud.
It's disorderly.
At lunch, Landon started asking me if we could go home.
At the end of the day, both Shiloh and Landon were crying and asking me to stay in Parker.

I have loved our year in Parker.
The commute isn't too much.
1 hour and 10 minutes to get there.
Then, we squeeze in piano lessons at the Larsons afterward.
Most weeks, I run errands on the way home.
I typically only go to town 1 day a week ... Thursdays.
It works for us.
I love it.
It's my life day.

I don't know if I'm ever going to be able to make the switch.
I'm happy where I am.
Next year, Sally will direct Ch-A and Andie will direct Ch-B.
That would be perfect.
My kids couldn't have a better experience than with those 2 directors.
It's a no-brainer for me.
Now, I am praying that Colleen doesn't give me a hard time or make it impossible for me to commute.
I'm happy.
I like where we are.
I don't want to start all over.
The end.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Tree cutting

We got our tree early this year.
Typically, we cut it down on the Friday after Thanksgiving.
However, this year, the business, with tours and walk-throughs, made it so that we couldn't do it on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.
So, Wednesday was the day we set out to find a tree ... and on our own property!
With 5 wooded acres, there were plenty of trees to be found!
We didn't need a permit.
We didn't need to drive anywhere.

Naturally, we had to get one that was tall enough to reach up to the kids loft.
It's about 14 feet tall ... and perfect!
It was a fun year to find a tree.

Friday, November 27, 2015


This was the first year since we moved back to Colorado that the Stuckys decided to stay home for Thanksgiving, then go to Arizona.
It was fun to spend Thanksgiving with them this year.
Matt and Jena moved back to Denver this summer, as Jena couldn't find work in Crested Butte.

While they aren't too keen on turkey, we had beef tenderloin for dinner.
So, I made a turkey dinner while we were in Winter Park.

Mom, Dad, and Shawnie spent Thanksgiving in Winter Park.
We stayed up there the first part of the week and they stayed the latter part.
It was different this year, but good.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

THE meeting

Yesterday, we had our meeting with Ted Sells, Christina's lawyer.
The four of us met Ted at his office and we called Christina.
It's hard to believe we have arrived at the place we have.

Bottom line, if we don't sign the ridiculous liability release document that Ted drafted,
we cannot use the farm road.
Christina will have gates erected to keep guests away.

Then, there's the meadow.
We now have to include a "cannot use" clause in our documents ...
and ask brides to contact Christina directly, should they want to take photos in the meadow.
She wants to charge $100 for that "privilege".

The Grandview Terrace is a whole different story.
The lease that we THOUGHT we signed would take us through 2016.
However, it conveniently got overlooked.
So, we are not under a lease agreement and Christina would like us to renegotiate.
She wants more money for every wedding, which we offered to pay, along with 50% of the dumpster bill during the summer months.

Just today, Christina emailed Steve with photos of trash on her property
... and evidence of a fire pit with beer cans.
She is asking us to clean it up!
And this is after we were told we could not have access to her property since we would not sign the liability release.

I am speechless.
Absolutely and utterly speechless!

Monday, November 2, 2015


This year wasn't much different than year's past.
But we had to drive a lot farther ... and stay the night at mom and dad's house.
Shiloh was invited to Eliza's party.
So, Steve took Landon, Sawyer, and Liberty to the outlet mall in Castle Rock to "trick or treat."
I drove Shiloh out to Parker, to the Avery's house.

Then, I met up with Steve and we took the kids to the Rock party at the Fairgrounds.
Much to our disappointment, there was no bungee jumping, no amusement style rides,
and very little candy.
There were blow up jumpers and a few little kid games.

Just as we were leaving, I got a text from Sally that Shiloh wasn't feeling well.
(we had been dealing with a stomach bug that was working it's way through our house)
Steve took the kids to mom and dad's and I went to get Shiloh ...
who threw up right before I got there.
Poor girl.

Then, we stayed the night, as we had a Mavuno Market board meeting scheduled for 1pm on Sunday.
It was fun for the kids ... and certainly memorable for Shiloh!  =)

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


We have finally found a church.
After 5 months of looking and visiting churches ...
we visited a church on Sunday and it's home.

The service is much like the services were at Mars Hill in Seattle.
The room is dark, worship is loud, and the teaching is sound.
There are 3 campuses, the first one started in Lafayette, then downtown Denver,
and now in Genesee.  It's a 25 minute drive, but totally worth it.

They use the ESV and their recommended reading list includes authors such as ...
John Piper
Tim Keller
Douglas Wilson
J.I. Packer
and Biblical Manhood and Womanhood by Piper and Grudem

The pastor is Jim Burgen.
He's bold and unashamed about the message he preaches ...
primarily targeting men and their lack of leadership.

It is such a relief to finally have a home church.
Now ... to start building community.

Friday, October 16, 2015


Probably one of the biggest mistakes we made was taking on a huge remodeling job right from the start ... with 40 weddings staring us in the face.
We closed on the property, put our house on the market, moved to Evergreen, started running a business, AND started remodeling the Cottage and lower level of the school.
It has been a bit too much.

One of our biggest mistakes in it was hiring John Wingate to do the work.
He has proved to be a huge source of conflict among all of us.
The remodel has cots us far more than we expected
... both in time and money.

We had a groom who offered to lay the floors, in exchange for a price reduction on his wedding.
Then, he decided not to get married here.
The saga stories go on and on and on.

The school is really a mess and is moving sLowLy.
We have a groom who is trading light installation for his wedding.
He's a great job and is working to get it done by the end of the year.

I think after we get all this finished ... we'll all welcome a long break from remodeling.
It's simply been too much too fast.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Tours, Bookings, and Weddings

September was filled with tours and bookings ... and weddings.
With 35 weddings from May until early October ...
and another 8 to go before year's end, we were busy.

After giving hourly tours on Saturdays, sometimes a tour every hour on the hour for 6 hours ...
Steve wised up and decided we should offer group tours.
So, now, we give 1-2 tours on Saturdays, and typically only 1 tour on Sundays.
It's a huge relief.
Typically, 4-5 couples come to a tour, then we are done.
It's super nice.

We are getting to know the caterers, have mastered setting up the barn and the ceremony chairs ...
and have learned the ins-and-outs of building hosting and cleaning the barn.
We continue to make changes to pricing, how we host events, and even our cleaning policy.

We wrestle with whether or not we want to continue leasing the Professional Building from Christina ... and hosting weddings at the Terrace.
Our relationship with Christina isn't going well and we don't know if it's worth having a lease with her, as it creates more stress than anything else.

Running this business has been a high learning curve ... but we are enjoying this new venture.

Monday, September 28, 2015

P4O # 4

This year was our 4th Passion for Orphans retreat.
I wasn't sure what to expect.
I was excited about our new location ...
Beaver Creek.
The Charter.
Peak weekend for fall colors.

I knew I wanted Jody Landers and Lisa Qualls to come back.
As it turned out, Rebecca Vahle also spoke.
And we had 3 ladies star their story.  Short and sweet, but personal.

I also knew I wanted Megan to lead worship.

I was thankful to have 4 girls on the planning team ...
Bethel. Erin. Celina. Amanda

And Jaynee came again this year.

We only had 42 ladies there.
That was discouraging.
BUT it was perfect.  Absolutely perfect.

With 3 main session speakers, 3 ladies sharing their story, Amanda teaching on attachment ...
and the removal of breakout sessions, which were replaced with discussion groups
and extra free time ...
it was an incredible weekend.
It was the best retreat yet.

So, next year, it will be at the same place, the same weekend, same schedule ...
with different speakers and story tellers.
I'm so very thrilled that God worked through all of our ideas and brought it all together.
It was a special weekend.

Thursday, September 24, 2015


Yep.  He's 11!
Being an odd year, we had a simple celebration with our family.
We had a cake party with the Himes and the Stuckys ... even Matt and Adrian came.
(they recently moved back to Denver, so we get to see them more!)

Then, we took him to the Rockies game on Monday night.
Baseball is his all-time favorite.
So, what would a birthday for him be without baseball?

Friday, September 18, 2015

Sponsorship coordinators

Back in July, the Mavuno Market board met with the Mavuno Village folks.
Dan and Bethany are in the States for Danae's wedding.
With the MCFM board moving from Bozeman to Denver, there are many changes.
In August, we met with the Ulrichs and Tanners to assume the responsibility of sponsorship coordinators/ donor relations for Mavuno Village.

For quite some time, I have felt strongly that our partnership with the Tanners should become more.
After having visited there in April 2012, I caught their vision and knew that we would work together moving forward.  Exactly how, I wasn't sure.
After Steve's visit in November 2014, he too caught the vision.
His excitement has driven us to the place that we agreed to assume this role.
I felt a bit hesitant, but Steve was adamant.

Our time with the Tanners in Bozeman was ok.  But at the time, Steve started wondering why they had not yet asked him to be on their board of directors.  He had made it clear that he wanted to be on their board if we were to take on this role.
It was in Bozeman that he began to take up an offense.
Now, 3 weeks after being designated this responsibility, Steve is seriously having second thoughts.
He's upset and hurt that they still haven't asked him to be on the board.

The email he sent this morning read,
I have spent much time considering my role with Mavuno.  Not being asked to be on the Board has left me feeling disappointed and a bit less motivated to get involved.  When Lisa and I agreed to take on this responsibility we envisioned involvement on the Board level.  Assuming the situation will remain as it is, I am left with two (although there may be other) conclusions:  1) you all would rather not have me - Steve Stucky - on the MCFM Board...for whatever reason(s)....The only thing that has been communicated to us is how busy we are... 
We appreciate your concern for us, with our move, starting a new business, marital conflict, etc..  We volunteered for this position with a high level of excitement about the opportunity to be more involved at MV.  With all the changes in our lives, it is true that we don't need to add more and yet we will if we believe it is important.  It is also true that doing the donor relations work will consume a great deal of time while membership on the Board would involve a small amount of time.  Therefore, if our time and capacity to do the work is the main concern - and I share that concern - perhaps someone from the Parker contingent would be better suited to handle Donor Relations.  

In light of the fact that we do indeed want to help and the fact that i/we agreed to take on the donor relations, I will reluctantly do so.   One year from now, I and/or we will evaluate our level of involvement and determine whether or not we will continue. 

It has been hard to watch Steve struggle with this.
The highs and lows have been a bit too extreme for my liking.
I think Steve has a desire to help them and be involved, but his offense has gotten in the way.
I have tried to speak into this, but I fear that my words are unheard.
Meanwhile, we have made a commitment to help with his and must keep our commitment.
It might be that I end up being the one who makes the deposits, but I can't just walk away after saying we would commit to this.
I thought we were on the same page, but I guess not.
I don't know how to pass my vision and passion on to Steve.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Back to School

Shiloh is in Challenge this year!
After 4 years in Foundations and Essentials, we have finally entered Challenge!
Deciding where to be in a CC community was not an easy choice.
After our move to Evergreen in May, I thought it would be best to be in a community close to home.  So, we enrolled in Evergreen.
Then, I was hit with the reality that I wasn't ready to start all over.
Our move to Evergreen was enough of a change.
I didn't want to leave my friends.
The Challenge programs were vastly different.
At the time, Parker had 8 kids enrolled, while Evergreen only had 1, maybe 3.
In Parker, Sally Avery, a dear friend, would be directing, which I knew would be awesome.
In Evergreen, Melissa Hemness, who is a super sweet gal, was directing, but I don't know her.
So, through many tears and much emotion, I made the decision to stay in Parker.

On August 27th, while we were enjoying a day at Mount Rushmore, Challenge A had their first community, "seminar," day.
We got home on the 31st and started school on the 1st.
Shiloh's first day in Challenge was August 3rd.

Landon is in his 5th year of Foundations and 2nd year of Essentials.
If it were up to him, he would be in Challenge too!
But he's not quite old enough ... one more year.

Sawyer is in his 4th year of Foundations.  Next year, I will have him Memory Master.

Little Liberty is in her 3rd year of Foundations and will be our only child to go through it so many times!  She is ready for 1st grade ... but her age will be prohibitive as she gets older, so she's in Kindergarten again!

Sky Stormers

As our trip drew to an end, we had just one more stop to make.

AAA baseball.
The Sky Stormers.

Not only did I marry a baseball fan ... but now my boys have followed suit.
All three boys love baseball.
They talk baseball, play baseball, watch baseball, even sleep baseball.

It was a fun game, well worth going a few miles out of the way!

Then ... we were bound for home ...