Monday, June 1, 2015

The Best Answer

As the days wind down, the boxes are being taken out of storage, dusted off, and prepped to be packed full of picture frames and kitchen utensils and books. Closets are being gone through and clothes are being put in piles to bring to Goodwill. Trash bags are becoming full, rooms are slowly becoming empty, and my heart is becoming…numb.

3 years. How can moving to a new city, a new state, change someone so much in that amount of time? How can telling your mom and dad, “Hey, I’ve never been to Denver but, umm, I’m moving there, ok?” completely turn your world inside out and upside down? How can leaving home as a dependent, broken, somewhat faith-filled girl be moving back as an independent, strong, overflowing with faith woman? 3 years.

I still can’t wrap my brain around it. If I tried to, however, this post would turn into my first published book. There is so much I could and want to write about. From how I think every person should move away from “the nest” to how you can live on your own despite the fact that you still may not know how to change a flat tire. But cook a meal for one? Yeah, you’re a pro at that.

“What will you miss most about Denver?”

Ahh yes, the question that seems to play over and over again as talks about moving are becoming more frequent and more real. There is no way to pick one thing when this one place has taught me more than I even thought could be learned. I can’t sum up 3 years of growth, maturity, and self-reliance because it goes beyond one moment, one person, one thing. 

I’ve experienced life that would have not been lived if it weren’t for stepping out of my comfort zone and answering the call that God was telling me. At times I doubted Him but that’s faith for you. Well, for me anyways. There were countless instances where I wanted to pack up and move home. And by countless I mean a large, large number. But I didn’t. I weathered the frequent storms that brought me to blue skies and sunshine. I faced friendship tests and horrible bosses. I had to deal with car troubles on my own without the help of my parents. I paid the bills knowing full well that the money I was paying them with was tight. I encountered diversity that made me see just how big of a bubble I had been living under growing up. I went places by myself. I met people by myself. I learned who I was…by myself

You see, while others shape us into who we are, it is only ourselves that can fully grasp how and why we were knitted together the way God intended us to be. It is only ourselves that can take that first step, open that one door, make that bold move. Sure, there are friends just a text away and family on the other end of the phone, but it's us that decides the calls we are going to take. For me, obeying the call to move to Denver was my most favorite answer yet.

K Bear

This girl. This young, creative, intelligent, always smiling and laughing little girl. When you spend 4 days a week with a person for over 2 years, you develop a relationship that goes beyond the hours of your scheduled "work day". I took pride in being her mentor and a positive (and hopefully influential) female figure in her life. While I coached her through friendship drama and family arguments, she was beside me during my own struggles and bumps in the road. She taught me patience, "mom-like" instincts, how to make a sushi roll out of banana, peanut butter, and Rice Krispies, and a handful of other things that are forever stored in my heart. I will miss K in ways that I have never missed a person and look forward to seeing her grow into a beautiful young woman! Olive Juice Koda Bear!


I remember telling my brother that I was moving to Denver and the first thing he said back was, "What! You're going to miss the lake Carrie!". I will admit, missing the lake was tough, especially when my entire family would send me pictures from the boat or around the bonfire, but living amongst the mountains helped mend the ache a little. This state is gorgeous. We are talking the bluest skies, scenery that looks like high-end artwork, and natural landmarks that serve as a giant playground. I have always been an outdoorsy person but there are no words to perfectly sum up how my adventures have went. From reaching the top of Horsetooth Mountain to tackling the Manitou Incline to hiking the most popular trail in the state to reach Hanging Lake to Yoga on the Rocks at Red Rocks, these memories I'm taking back with me to Minnesota are rich in adventure and beauty, and have most certainly left me with a thirst for more!


I moved out here knowing no one. Not a friend from elementary school that moved away in 5th grade or an old neighbor. No one. There were many times I pushed myself out of my comfort zone but reaching out to strangers had to be one of the biggest pushes. I struck up spontaneous conversations while waiting in line at the coffee shop, asked a girl from my apartment if she wanted to run together (which lead to her telling me she was a Concordia graduate…small world), and started a small group through my church. Again, things that were so "not me".

While there are friends in these pictures that I'm no longer in contact with, every person made my Denver experience what it was. Each had their own part, their own role in one way or another, and for that I am so, so thankful for our paths crossing. I learned a TON from certain situations and I also took away things that I quite honestly never want to experience in my life again. I shed tears and erupted with laughter. I had pillow talks while having sleepovers and nights downtown dancing up a storm. I will not take for granted one single friendship that I have made because these are the people that were with me through it all.

To those friends that I haven't talked to in a while, just know that I think about you every single day. I wish you nothing but the absolute best and hope that this finds you well! Xo


I'd say my journey towards a stronger faith started right before I moved to Denver and only solidified when I began attending Denver Community Church. I still remember how I felt walking out of those double doors after the first service I attended. I was changed. I was moved and shook and bothered in the best way possible. I never knew that church could make me feel like that because I had never experienced those emotions before. I had never felt so engaged, enthralled, and connected to the Word. The teaching wasn't just mumble-jumble talk about "those guys" and things that happened "way back when". It was relatable and real-life and exactly what I needed to have here in Denver.

I began forming friendships through my small group as well as volunteering both at church and outside of it. I invited people to sit next to me on Sunday mornings and after one service they were hooked. I even had one visitor (that I would have never thought in a million years say this) from Minnesota ask if we could go to church while they were here. If that doesn't say something about what happens in those 4 walls than I must be missing something.

Colorado has never felt like home and that's not necessarily a bad thing. It was a place for me to find myself. To find my footing and grasp that the person I was before was not the person I was meant to be the rest of my life. These mountains shaped me. Formed me. Molded me and pushed me and forever changed me.

My blog is for others to read but also serves as a time capsule. I frequently go back to certain posts to remind myself that bad days will in fact bring better ones. Here is a post from August 28, 2012. Only days after moving out here:

"Time has a funny way of showing us things. Big or small, with time, the puzzle pieces start to merge together. 

I may be miles away from everything that is comfort to me, but deep down this is where I'm meant to be. Maybe not forever, but for today. This is where I will find a new comfort. I will build relationships that further my excitement about life, love, & the unfamiliar events that lie ahead. 

I can't explain the feelings that I have. After dropping my mom off at the airport on Sunday afternoon, I drove back towards the mountains. I'm fairly positive I breathed the biggest breath of my life as I clenched on to the steering wheel. Buckle up girlfriend, it all starts now

I continually feel a wave of reassurance that makes my nerves wash away. Whether it be exploring the city or getting e-mails from friends that I have never truly met with words that mean so much, I am reminded of why I am here. I'm here to prove to myself that I can start from scratch. I can pick myself up from a dark place & transform it in to the most beautiful place.

Work, relationships, friendships, family, a sense of purpose, settling in. All these take time, trust, & a belief that everything will work out."

Girlfriend, it worked out in the most unimaginable and life-changing way possible.  Now let's get you back home.