Monday, December 16, 2013

Why We Do This...

If you're reading this, there's a really good chance you either have one of our family 2013 Christmas cards, or you've seen it posted here. A natural question you may have (right after, "How will they afford therapy for their kids?") would be, "Why in the world do they do it?" Short answer: I don't know either.

My best guess is we do it because we have a blast doing it. It makes *us* laugh. Maybe because in real life, real life is, well, more mundane than our pictures, serious even. So this is an outlet. Besides, it makes lots of you laugh (or so you say).

But that leaves the question that sometimes goes unasked: If they do this for Christmas photos… what do they think of Christmas? Fair question. Most of Christmas (IMHO) has very little to do with what Christmas originally was -- which was not at this time of year, and didn't involve Santa or snow men or mall parking lots. But *any* time of year is a good time of year to practice giving and generosity, including Christmas. So we give to ADRA.org as well as fund scholarships for women in third world countries to obtain higher education. More than that, we're Christian. The kind that believes that God really *does* care about the hurt and pain and injustice in this world. He cared enough to send part of Himself, His Son, on a rescue mission for us -- the real meaning of Christmas. More than that, we believe Jesus is planning to come again, not quietly as a baby, but as King. It's not just a few shepherds who will know then -- the whole world will know beyond a hint of doubt the second time. It won't be on TV, and Congress won't debate it. It will be the end of the world as we know it, and the beginning of one that was always supposed to be. I invite you to read the story yourself. It starts in Genesis and ends in Revelation. Between there is the story of a God who keeps on keeping on reaching out to us, and in love, invites us to respond. It's not fiction, and it can change your life like it has mine. So indeed: Merry Christmas.

Erik

2013 Christmas Card!!

Here is our 2013 Christmas Card! Please note the QR code is REAL, not pretend. Click here for direct link. We love to hear from you! Comment below.


  





Sunday, December 15, 2013

2013 Year Review


Hi Everyone,

Gelerie here. I hope you all have had a great year. If you were hoping to see the Christmas Card, we will post it very soon.

This year Finn turned 4 in January and Aubrey turned 10 in August. Finn is always active and has only required one trip to the ER this year for stitches above his right eyebrow. Aubrey just got her braces in November and will wearing them for the next three years.



During Spring break vacation, we went on celebration cruise with Erik's parents to the Caribbean. They were celebrating their 51st anniversary this year and we celebrated our belated 20th anniversary.






Gelerie continues to enjoy providing anesthesia and also maintains a sewing/crafting blog.







Erik couldn't resist the Easter picture.


April showers bring May flowers
We also spent a weekend in early June at the Great Sand Dunes National Park. The water was running at Medano Creek.


In June, we went on a 3,000 mile road trip in the Vanagon. Here we are about to jump in the van and go!


We went through Utah.


We visited Arches National Park and hiked up to Delicate Arch.



We also went to Zion National Park. We spent time in California with family and friends.








We went up Hwy 1 and stopped in San Francisco at the Exploratorium.


Other stops included Lake Tahoe, Steamboat Springs, and Trail Ridge Road crossing the Continental Divide.



Cinnamon Roll from Winona's in Steamboat Springs. It IS that big!
Trail Ridge Road

And home again...


 
Gelerie's Best Birthday Present Ever!



Helping Dad build Aubrey's birthday loft

 
Aubrey's New Loft
The rest of the year has been a blur. In September, east and west of us there was significant damage and tragic loss of lives due to the flooding here in northern Colorado. We are thankful that we were safe.

The flooding that we had here was nothing compared to the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan. We have chosen to assist by donating to ADRA and encourage you to do the same or donate to another aid agency of your choice.  Here is the ADRA link.

Thankful that someday, the world will be made new again. No more tears and sadness only joy. Looking forward to the day when He comes again no longer the Baby born in a manger, but as our Redeemer in the clouds. Merry Christmas to you all and wishing you peace and joy this coming year.

Gelerie

Saturday, December 15, 2012

So this is Christmas… 

Why the silly Christmas photos from our family? Short answer: because we want to. And we can. And the fact is, the rest of our lives are pretty normal and in some ways, boring. So we do it to amuse ourselves--and you. 

But silly cards and snowmen and Santa and elves are not what Christmas is about. Neither is it about giving or "Holiday Spirit" or even family. It's a mis-dated reminder of the greatest invasion our planet has ever had: a newborn in a barn. It was the personal landing of the creator among the created. The idea was simple, but the effect profound. Long ago there had been a rebellion, a seemingly simple disobedience (forbidden fruit) that opened the floodgates of hell. And we have been in enemy territory ever since. But this… this baby, the one who *chose* to come, did come. The plan was radical: this baby would become the ransom for those in enemy territory. A prisoner exchange, if you will. Everyone who would believe… this baby now man would trade his life for theirs. Him for you. His death, your life. Talk about gift giving. 

But the story has gotten snowed in under mountains of catalogs, cookies, and tons of crap we don't need. Meanwhile, the real story, the REAL gift is often forgotten. For those of you familiar with the story and what it means, I encourage you to dust if off. For friends (or strangers) who look at this with skeptical eye and wonder if this whole "Jesus" thing isn't as much pretend as Frosty the Snowman, I'd ask this: How's the future looking without a God who cares enough to sacrifice Himself for you? One who came personally to make the downpayment and left only after a promise to come again and wrap it up -- forever. 

Me? I look at the news -- pick a day, any day -- and I don't see this planet getting better on its own. Pick your tragedy: school shootings, famine and starvation, environmental destruction, poverty, civil war, hurricanes, human trafficking, tsunamis, drought. Whatever. We are not heading into utopia. We are not doing a great job left to our own devices. Millions suspect something very bad is going to go down sooner than later, and I agree. But through that, on the other end of that, and until then… I have hope. I have confidence in how it turns out. I have peace, and it's all because of that baby in a manger. 

If you're like me and you suspect we did not get here on our own, nor are we going to pull out of this nosedive on our own, and you'd like that peace, that confidence and hope… it's real. It's in the Bible. And before you call it hokey and fable, look at the headlines of any news outlet anywhere and tell me how we're doing without it. Want to know more about this Jesus? The Bible is the place to start. Get a modern translation and google "bible reading plan" and start. Additionally, here are three books I've found that I recommend: "Beautiful Outlaw" by John Eldredge. "What's so Amazing About Grace?" by Philip Yancey. And "Messiah" by Jerry D. Thomas. And though I don't have all the answers, I'm willing to listen to questions. Contact me through www.stenbakken.com

From our family to you… we wish you better than a merely merry Christmas. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Good Things of Colorado

We had lots of apples for apple sauce and apple pie.
Erik got to go fly fishing with his dad on the Poudre River.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Erik's Motorcycle

Erik got a motorcycle in May and has enjoyed riding it this summer.

Camping with Calvin Gane down near Marshall Pass, Colo.