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Dear you,

Two years ago today (how has it been two years??) you left the only home you'd ever known. The home you grew up exploring. The home that raised you and shaped who you are. The home that always felt safe. You cautiously stepped out in faith and moved halfway across the country, and get this, you survived. Jesus held you up in the moments you thought you might drown, and in the moments you thought this was the biggest mistake of your life. He proved faithful. He always does.

Here's what I want you to know...

At some point in your second year, this place finally settled into your heart as "home". A few months ago you heard people talking about all the states they'd like to move to and realized that for the longest time, Colorado was the only other place in this country you ever really wanted to live and Jesus finally let that happen, and you are happy here. Deep down in your heart happy.

Sure, pieces of life are hard no matter where you are. And you still miss your people. Some days more than others. On birthdays and holidays you can't make it home for. On days when your mama is having another surgery. On nights when your best friend had a hard day and you just want to give out bear hugs and sit with her. On weekends when your core group is all together and you miss them so much your heart hurts. But here is where you are, and until Jesus says otherwise, here is where you'll stay.

There's this song I heard the other day that made my eyes water. There is a line that goes like this "You're afraid, but you can hear adventure calling. There's a rush of adrenaline to your bones. What you make of this moment changes everything. What if the path you choose, becomes a road? The ground you take becomes your home?" You left the only place you'd really ever known to walk down a path filled with the terrifying excitement of the unknown.

You'll look back at things you prayed for over the past two years (like what you prayed for standing by the ocean last fall), and you'll realize just how many of those things Jesus has provided. Not all the things, because well, He's a good father, and He knows best. You've doubted and doubted at times, but He is going to give you things you honestly never thought you'd have. He's going to give you things that will challenge you and make you face your fears, and it will change you for the good.

Jesus will teach you so much about Himself this year. I say teach, but a lot of it has been Jesus reminding you over and over again of things He's been teaching you for years, just waiting for you to finally grasp.

Jesus loves you. You've been told that your entire life. But this past year more than ever, in the midst of the hard, in the midst of times when you felt unloved and unwanted, you really knew Jesus loved you. You'll read Beautiful Outlaw by John Eldredge, and it will change your life. It describes the Jesus you know and love. The one who is personable and approachable. The one who has always been your comforter and your friend.

It will confirm and support the way you view Jesus and the way you relate to Him best, and it will help you realize it is a-okay that the way you experience Jesus is different from everyone else. It will remind you that Jesus knows you...the real, transparent, no-walls-up-to-block-people-out-and-keep-yourself-safe you. And He knows how you operate and how you react, and in that He knows how to teach you best and how to approach you best and how to convict you best and how to love you best. He knows how to make you laugh and He knows the song that needs to be shuffled next in a playlist to encourage your heart. You've always been a lover of the little things in life, and this year you'll be reminded over and over that Jesus cares just as much about those little things as you do.

You are going to explore so many beautiful places this year, and you'll learn to appreciate day trips like never before. The early mornings and long drives are worth it for the experiences and quality time and conversations with the people you care about. You'll sit by the dreamiest of lakes, stare at mountain ranges so beautiful they don't look real, and stroll through the most magical of meadows. And your little adventure seeking heart will be full.

I want you to remember what this year felt like. The ups and the downs and the experiences that continue to make you who you are. Here's to another year of adventure, of trying new things, of learning and growing, of trusting, of deepening friendships, and of knowing Jesus more.



Location: Twin Lakes, CO
Details: August Ink Pullover | Aria Down Vest | Custom Chacos

Listen, I know we are a month into winter times here in Colorado (and snow is currently covering the ground), but I've still got to tell you about my autumn. For a girl who grew up having easy access to lakes and rivers, it was hard getting used to not having that in Colorado. I missed getting to walk by or be out on the water whenever I wanted. So any chance I have to adventure near water, I take.

When we started making plans for Sam & Amy to come visit Colorado, we all got to express our dreams and expectations for the weekend, and my dream was to take everyone to the mountains one day to see the glorious golden leaves. I'd driven past Twin Lakes twice, but in the dark, so I'd never actually been able to see it in all of its magicalness. Is that a word? Magicalness? Let's pretend it is.

We woke up before the sun, slowly made it to the car, stopped for coffee, and headed on our way through the mountains and into the woods. As we drove further through the mountains, the skies filled with clouds and the temperatures started dropping. Let's just say I was prepared for a mild autumn day, and Colorado said "no, no, no." It was freezing. FREEZING. And windy. But we made the most of it by running around screaming and laughing and trying to fight the wind. The wind won.

Despite the unexpected weather, we had a great time exploring together, wandering through the woods and along the shore of the lake taking in the breathtaking views of the mountains sprinkled in gold.

Various Photos By: Elah Tree | Oak + Oats | Taking Steps Home



Location: Leadville, CO
Details: August Ink Pullover | Aria Down Vest | Custom Chacos

While the gals (Amy and Sam) were here, we spent a day driving through the mountains to visit Leadville, CO. I'd never been, and as we all know, exploring new places with friends is one of my favorite things in all the land. I love watching people experience new things, and with travel, I love watching them take in all the new sights and sounds and point out all of the things that they find interesting. You learn so much about a person when you adventure together.

We stopped for lunch at a mom & pop burger joint and inhaled some yummy food (because we're super ladylike.) It was so much fun to walk around and explore little shops and side streets. Leadville has some really fun art on the exterior of their buildings. My favorite being the wall of Aspen trees because, in my opinion, Aspens are one of the best parts of Colorado. We walked, chatted, stopped to take photos, took a coffee break, stopped to take more photos, fought the wind and lost, stopped to take more photos, got frostbite (okay, I'm being dramatic), headed home, pulled over to take more photos, and arrived home exhausted but with hearts so full. More road trips like this, please.

Various Photos By: Elah Tree | Oak + Oats | Taking Steps Home