Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Wow--what a week we've had! Steamboat Springs was really beautiful. I forgot to mention the newspaper article too. It was a huge spread with a picture and everything! Since it was written by a non-Christian it had an interesting slant. But--I really liked it.

Saturday was incredible. The mountain was gorgeous. It was pretty slushy down at the bottom so we went straight to the top. We really had a lot of fun skiing...especially after Philip remembered how to ski. :) The rest of the group rode the gondola up to the top of the mountain and met us for lunch. This was a huge accomplishment for JV and Amanda--both terrified of heights. I know I've written that I am also afraid of heights, but for some reason ski lifts don't bother me too much...except while riding with Kyle Dickson. I've skied more times with him than I can count and he always tried to terrify me by rocking the seat back and forth.

While we ate lunch we asked about the weather. We had heard that bad weather was approaching and thought maybe we should drive to Denver that night to beat it. Everyone just dismissed our concerns...silly Tennesseans. Well, sure enough--that night after dinner we got word that the impending storm had shut down airports in Steamboat and Denver the following day. We were beginning to get worried. When we called the airline, apparently we were the ONLY ones who didn't get the word early enough and re-book our flights. Thankfully, there was one seat left the following afternoon. We all agreed that Sheryl should get that seat. We then spent the next 24+ hours trying to figure out what to do. As we watched the news from Denver we were just horrified at the thought of driving into that storm...not to mention that there were blizzard and avalanche warnings between Steamboat and Denver. So, we decided to make the best out of it.

Sunday, after spending hours on the phone to the airline and car rental places, we went into Steamboat to look around. It is really a neat place. The shops were cool and we found a couple of little things for the girls.

What makes this story even weirder is that the weekend we were there was the final weekend of the season. The town turns into a ghost town for a few weeks until summer. In fact, the hotel we were staying in right at the base of the mountain--and most all the others around it--closed. We were homeless. Thankfully, John Ott's parents took us in.

That afternoon the Otts took us up the mountain to Robert's cousin's house. It was seriously like something from "Man From Snowy River". Amazing. It's quite common place there to see a porcupine amble across the road, to see Elk grazing, a fox scamper in front of you, or to meet a nice family of black bears who live just over the ridge from this house. For as far as the eye could see there were mountains and valleys--mostly covered in snow. This house they took us to was a huge--HUGE--log cabin. It sat on over 30 acres. There were large windows in the living areas where you could see the mountains and all the snow. Their golden retriever waited loyally at the door. It was like walking into some Colorado Magazine shoot. Amazing.

We got home and all bedded down for the night at the Otts. We knew we had a busy day ahead. Early the next morning we rented the car and began our trek to Denver. Sheryl was waiting in Steamboat to fly and would meet us in Denver if everything worked out. We prayed before we drove out and asked the Lord to watch over us. The next 4 hours were incredible. When else would I be driving through the Continental Divide after such a snow storm? I have never seen scenery like that in my life. I almost felt like we were on an expedition discovering new lands. Much of that stretch was uninhabited. We saw some beautiful snow covered mountains and trees. We saw some peaceful lakes covered in ice. We saw several huge log cabin estates--who are these people?? The entire time we thanked God for his provision and commented that if we had to be stuck, we couldn't imagine a better group of people to be with. The stress of what we were missing at home was purposefully put aside since none of us could do anything about it. There were a few interesting moments in driving, but overall, it was a safe trip.

We got to the airport where 2000 people had been stuck the night before and it looked like Armageddon! Lines everywhere, bags as far as you could see, tired, grumpy, "postal" people. It was not pretty. We decided to head back out to the curb to take our chances there. Thankfully, we got checked in and through security in plenty of time and Sheryl was on her way. We all had a happy reunion at a Mexican food restaurant near our gate. We were extremely glad to be heading home.

I don't know why all this happened. Perhaps it was because God was protecting us from something else, perhaps it was so that we could have an extra day with the Otts and Whitney, perhaps it was simply because of the obvious. Whatever the case, we had much to be thankful for. I have those beautiful images burned into my mind of the driving trip from Steamboat to Denver. I don't think I'll ever forget it. Laughing with friends while we drove the the Continental Divide--awesome!

We could not get home fast enough. The girls immediately opened the door squealing with delight. What a way to come home! I could have eaten them up. We all fell on the floor and giggled and hugged and tickled. It was a heavenly reunion. I'm not sure who was happier that we were home though--the girls or my mom and Kiki. THANK YOU to those two and Sarah Williamson for helping with our girls. We are very blessed.

I'll leave you with some pictures the Otts took while we were on the mountain on Saturday. I wish I had some pictures of us singing too. Unfortunately, we only had the camera on Saturday.

Gatha Ott (John's mom), Philip Henry, and BST on top of the mountain!

JV and BST riding on the gondola. JV is just a breath away from a major panic attack over heights!

Amanda and Sheryl riding the gondola

The group after eating on top of the mountain

Again--thanks for all your prayers. We really believe that God guided our steps over the weekend. Have a great week!


Stephen Bailey said...

Mixture of gratitude and jealousy. Glad you made it home safely and incredibly envious that you got to go! Sounds like a great time and a better homecoming.

Phil said...

Buncha Texans? Scared of snow? Wow.

Well, maybe I'll allow it, since it shut Colorado down for the most part.

Anonymous said...

I've decided that pigtails are NOT for you.

ginger handy said...

Actually brandon, I LOVE the hat. I was thinking how cute you look, and then I read the Blog from DeeAnna.....what is she thinking???
(of course, neither is she 53....maybe you SHOULD listen to her!!)

JD said...

Sounds like a memory has been made for a lifetime. I would love to spend some time in Colorado...but not in a ski-lift! Eeek...I get dizzy standing on a chair to change a lightbulb. lol

Tony Arnold said...

God works in mysterious ways, often to allow us to experience His majesty. I bet your heart was overwhelmed with praise for the Father as you took in your surroundings. Often the best experiences are unplanned.


Randy said...


You should wear that smashing head piece for the cover photo of the new ZOE release.

I have a new favorite picture!