We debated putting our Christmas Letter up on the Fringe Church blog. But the fact of the matter is, our lives are so intertwined with what we’re doing with Fringe that we decided it made sense. For those of you who would like regular updates on what’s going on with Fringe, please subscribe here. We only send out the newsletter quarterly, and we blog a few times a month. For those that prefer the annual update, here it is:
We started a Missional Community (our term for small groups or community groups) with another family in November last year. We meet at our friends’ house on Monday nights. We’ve spent the first year going through the Story of God study (where the character and love of God is connected throughout the entire Bible in story form) and then we’ve been talking about how the gospel relates to every aspect of life and how we should live if we believe that’s true. We have such a great group of people from all different backgrounds and walks of life. Many of us went on a group camping trip in July. There’s a picture of all of us on the card. It was such a great time of connecting, and goodness did we have some yummy food!
James also had the privilege of performing his first wedding ceremony in October for two of our Fringe members. They had a mountain sunrise wedding, and it was so beautiful. We were honored to get to be a part, and we’re excited to see what God will do through this amazing couple.
Living out the gospel on mission is a huge focus of our vision, so we continue to partner with Jefferson County Prosperity project where we work with families from Head Start to assist the organization in breaking the generational cycle of poverty. We’ve been able to take meals to a family where the mom (of 4!) had undergone a surgical procedure, Amy organized 2 “Searching & Shopping” events where clothing and job assistance were provided to the moms in the program, and we have welcomed several JPP families into Fringe church! We are starting monthly gatherings this month where we’ll do a simple service followed by brunch – we’re calling it Chunch. We plan to start a second Missional Community at our home soon, and we welcome your prayers as we seek God on the exact timing for that.
We moved to the northwest part of town to be closer to everything we were doing with Fringe in April. While we certainly miss seeing our friends in Highlands Ranch more regularly, it has been so nice to be closer to those with whom we’re trying to live live and grow as disciples with. Our home has been a huge blessing, and we love entertaining here. We started monthly block parties just as soon as we had our boxes unpacked. The kids have been great and love to go around and pass out the fliers. They know many of our neighbors better than we do! It’s been so fun to get to know our neighbors – we live in a great neighborhood. We also have a lovely guest room. This is mentioned so that you know you have a comfy place to come when you come visit us, and also because we really hope God opens doors for us to use it for those in need. He’s done that once already as we hosted a single mom and her children for a few days last month. Our official send-off from our sending church was in September and was a lovely morning of praying for this beautiful new thing God has started.
Only a few weeks after our move, James and Amy left the children in Kay’s capable hands while we went to Tacoma, Washington for Soma School. This is a church planters training with a network that we really respect. We received excellent training and practical ways of how to plant a church in an organic way – disciples making disciples. We’re grateful to be involved with Soma and hope to increase that connection in the future. Feel free to check out the other blog posts for some of the other happenings with Fringe. We truly could go on and on, but the bottom line is that God is doing great things. We’re so grateful to be a part!
We didn’t take a big family vacation this year due to the move and Soma School, but we did take a long weekend to go to Red River, New Mexico and meet our one and only niece! Margot Iris was adorable and so fun to play with. We had a great weekend with Mark, Jocelyn and Margot.
James and Amy stole away for a long weekend in Cancun to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary (what?!) and we took the kids to Breckenridge for a weekend as well.
Early this year, Amy innocuously applied to be on a launch team for a book of one of her favorite authors – Jen Hatmaker. Five thousand people applied, and the publisher accepted only 500. Amy – as well as her Aunt Pen – were 2 of the 500. This, in itself, wouldn’t be Christmas letter worthy except that it became so much more than just reading a book and promoting it in your social circles. It became a community of women where the gospel was lived out over social media. Hard to believe, right? Money was donated, meals were delivered by strangers on behalf of friends living out of state, many prayers were prayed. It was a beautiful thing. It culminated in Jen Hatmaker inviting the entire launch team to a party at her house in Buda, Texas! Amy was able to attend along with a few other girls from Colorado. They rented a house and had a great girls weekend. Amy got to meet and speak with both Jen and Brandon, so it was definitely a highlight of her year. (Also, her name is in the back of “For the Love”. She’s sort of famous now.)
We had multiple visitors to Colorado this year. Mom and Dad came out in May after Soma School. We were still in “work on the house” mode, so I’m afraid we primarily put them to work. Then our friends the Woodbury’s came to visit in July. We had a great time aside from the REI Monsoon Incident of 2015 which involved ruining a pair of suede shoes that I think Geoff has just recently recovered from the loss of. We were walking to REI as a group, and the skies literally just opened. There was so much wind that we literally had trouble crossing the street. We finally made it into the safety of REI, but not before we were all soaked to the core. We were quite a sight!
Our good friends the Turners also came to visit us in late September. We had a great time showing them our state, and we all spent a few days in Glenwood Springs – one of our favorite places.
James has been able to focus solely on the church plant. He sees counseling clients periodically, and he meets with members of our church or other pastors in the area on a regular basis. He does lots of reading and studying as well as takes care of many items to keep our home running! He enjoys hiking and camping and was able to steal away for a guys weekend in Texas recently where lots of non-living things were shot. Amy was promoted in her current role with PwC in May, and she has really been enjoying her work as a Finance Director. She is able to work from home the majority of the time unless she is travelling, and her travel has been fairly limited. She still sews (occasionally), and she plays guitar and is excited to lead worship at our Fringe gatherings (at least until God brings someone else along).
Ellie is 9 and is just the sweetest soul. She is super affectionate and loving, and she really is a people pleaser and loves to help. She can occasionally be bossy (she gets that from her mom), but she is a great big sister and friend. So far, she still loves her curly hair! Emma is 7, and she is a firecracker. She is beautiful inside and out, and she can go from happy to crocodile tears in 2 seconds flat. She has an excellent command of colloquialisms, so she makes us laugh regularly as she uses them in context. The girls both enjoy school and have done really well transitioning from their old school. Ellie is in the choir (and has a lovely voice), and both girls take horseback riding lessons from one of our friends at Fringe. Nathan turned 4 in October and just continues to be such a fun, sweet kid. He has his “boy” moments where he gets into mischief or disobeys, but he’s generally quite compliant and sweet. He loves all things typical boy: race cars, trucks, planes, trains. He gives great hugs and kisses, and we couldn’t be more grateful that he completed our family. (That’s right – no more kiddos planned unless God drops us a shocker!) He started preschool this fall, and he makes friends easily and is doing great at his school which is only a mile from our house.
I (Amy) read a blog post this week that I loved about keeping it real in the Christmas letter. All of the above is definitely real, and I wouldn’t even say it’s sugar-coated. We’ve had a great year, no doubt. But here’s a paragraph of the nitty gritty real for you just to keep it all balanced. James and I had a few arguments this year. Yep, it’s true. I still like him. A lot. But we definitely argued. There was even some – gasp – yelling at times. Some of this happened in front of the kids, and we apologized to them. Our kids (and I’ll neglect calling them out by name for their own sakes) have displayed bossiness, direct disobedience, hitting, and yelling. Ellie even opened the door to a stranger this year while I was gone for 10 minutes. Don’t call CPS on me for that. We had a VERY serious conversation and have adjusted our policy accordingly. There has been lots of snot, a few cases of vomit, items broken, walls with toothpaste on them, couches with markers, and lots of bandaids.
Our prayer for each of you this year is this: May Christ make himself real to you in new and exciting ways. May you know that he is with you regardless of your circumstances. May you know his joy, peace and comfort even in times where you may feel sadness, unrest and anxiety. May he show you new ways to love those in this broken world of ours – ways that may stretch you beyond your comfort zone.
Blessings to each of your families,