Our Last Days in Bozeman

Leaving Bozeman at Sunrise

In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.
Proverbs 16:9

We will miss Bozeman, and everything about it. We spent nearly 7 months there…renewing our minds and our bodies and taking a much needed rest. Even as I write this and look back through the photos, I feel a twinge of homesickness. We felt very much at home there and fell in love with the culture of the city. People have asked us if we will go back there to live after the tour, but it’s hard to say at this point. Our road is yet unknown…but it’s a possibility!

There are so many things that we loved about Bozeman. Our friends, the amazing local coffee shops, our church, downtown, the coop, but especially our family. Matt’s sister, Mindy, and her husband, Ryan, live there and run Lions Ridge, a retreat center just outside of town. Their camp is located way up in the mountains…with gorgeous views from every direction. We enjoyed taking long walks, picking wildflowers, and playing in the cold mountain stream that ran right behind our RV. The wildlife was abundant. On one occasion, I looked out the front of the RV and saw a deer grazing in the grass about 10 feet away. On another day, I was just about to come out of the main cabin, and was startled to see five large black cows staring back at me. Apparently it was free range season and they come up every year. I couldn’t get my camera out fast enough…and as soon as I moved they stampeded up the mountain pretty quickly! Matt and Bella saw marmot and other deer when they went out exploring, and when we were leaving in the early morning to head out, we saw a baby moose on the side of the road.

We were constantly in awe of God’s creation while we were there. Every day we would wake up to perfect stillness…and a sun that was just peeking above the pines. As we would walk up to the lodge at night to see the sunset, we would touch the wildflowers and recall their names (homeschooling on the road!). When you stand in the shadow of the mountains, you can’t help but feel the awesome power of God. And the same power that is at work in those mountains is at work in our lives at all times. When things get rough…I always know that if God can create all of this, He has the power to handle my everyday life!

It was also a great reminder of why I feel so strongly about being a good steward of God’s creation. I worship a Saviour who entrusted this earth to us… to take care of and to be wise with it’s resources. Being wasteful and using harmful chemicals does not being honor to Him…being wise in using what He has given us does. Christians should be the most RADICAL environmentalists out there as we care for HIS creation. And although you may not share my faith, we do share a common bond. Our children and grandchildren will suffer the effects of our laziness and careless attitudes about where the earth is headed. Let’s all take our own little steps towards a more hopeful future for them.

Lions Ridge will always hold special meaning for us. Several years ago, we were visiting there during a very challenging time in our life. We felt that God was prompting us to move to Bozeman…away from the busy life that we were leading. Moving there eventually became a reality…one that was wonderful and unexpected. As we left Bozeman last week, we stayed at Lions Ridge again while we closed that short chapter in our life…moving on to our next adventure. It was bittersweet driving down the mountain that last time…leaving dear friends and family behind. But so much lies ahead of us right now. And who knows…maybe we WILL head back to the West after the tour. It’s amazing there! But even more amazing is staying right in the center of God’s will, and that is where we are right now.

For more photos and explanations of our last days in Bozeman, click here.
For more photos of Lions Ridge in the winter, click here.


  1. What an inspiration! I just started blogging and one of my main reasons was to motivate myself to make changes in my life. One change is learning about living green and then applying it to my life. I am making small changes everyday. Posts such as yours inspire and encourage me to continue on in this process. Just knowing there are people actually living the life I am learning about gives me hope and confidence. Thank you for your posts and your concern for our planet.

    Comment by Becky — July 25, 2007 @ 11:47 pm

  2. Congratulations! 30+ years ago, I was the child in this scenario. It is the best time of ones life. Enjoy! :)

    Comment by Isle Dance — July 26, 2007 @ 12:10 am

  3. What a wonderful post. I couldn’t agree more about having the responsibility to take care of God’s creation. It is SO important – more important than most Christians realize. Thanks for helping to spread that message! I wish you and your family the best on your great adventure!

    Comment by Rachel — July 26, 2007 @ 6:27 am

  4. So excited to see where you go…where’s the first stop?!

    Comment by Kristin Mayo — July 26, 2007 @ 8:29 am

  5. I love what you wrote Sara. Thank you for your example and insight!

    Comment by Jeanne — July 26, 2007 @ 9:34 am

  6. I just recently found your site. I am excited to be taking this journey with you. Thank you for sharing your faith with us today. That was an awesome post. I feel the same way about nature, it is the place II feel closest to Him. He is a mighty God. Amazing that he cares for even us. I’m glad you are seeking his will in this journey. I look forward to future posts. God Bless! I kind of envy you. Your daughter will have beautiful memories.
    Go with God.
    Mama Bear

    Comment by Mama Bear — July 26, 2007 @ 4:05 pm

  7. ….and to think that I live on that Mountain side and experience what you described daily. God’s creation reflects only a glimpse of His grace, power and glory. Amazing!

    I’m super excited for this next step of your journey. Have fun & remember, you are always welcome in Bozeman (and Lions Ridge)!

    Comment by Mindy Connelly — July 26, 2007 @ 7:12 pm

  8. What a gorgeous place! I adore looking at pictures of nature and you are a fabulous photographer!

    Comment by Ellen — July 26, 2007 @ 8:37 pm

  9. Hey guys! Susie and I are keeping up to date on your blog and praying for you every step of the way. We’re excited for you and can’t wait to hear all of the stories from the road. I’m going to have to have you come and speak to our students some time. Let us know when you’ll be around ND!

    Also, you probably know this, but Rob Bell just finished up a series called “God is green.” Very cool stuff.

    Later. And if Matt needs somebody to watch his guitar for the next year, I’m available.

    Comment by Paul — July 27, 2007 @ 11:53 am

  10. wow! just… wow… what a beautiful, amazing place.

    your daughter reminds me of a bright ray of sunshine…

    Comment by barefootchick — July 28, 2007 @ 5:55 am

  11. I am sorry but “radical environmentalism”, i.e. extremism is not admirable in the least. Extremism always discounts everything for a centric cause too include the well being of others. It boils down to your extreme will and desires and what you arrogantly think is right for the world as your platform discounts and derides the wills and ideals of others. This is a sin in Christian terms and you should be ashamed.

    Regardless, I wish you a safe journey.

    Comment by --**-- — July 28, 2007 @ 8:35 am

  12. Could you please put up a donate button? I’m not a big corporation but my children and I would like to contribute to your journey.

    thank you

    Comment by hipm0mma — July 28, 2007 @ 5:29 pm

  13. let me know when you’re in lexington ky :) i’d love to meet your family & discuss green living. i’m a new comer to it all, but you’re def one of my inspirations!

    Comment by kalen — July 29, 2007 @ 10:13 pm

  14. Sara, you guys rock! You and your family are a true inspiration.
    I have been loving all of the beautiful portraits you did for our friends here is Des Moines. You are very talented.
    Happy trails. You’re in our prayers.

    Comment by Leah — July 30, 2007 @ 4:01 pm

  15. Greetings Sara,

    Another wonderful post. Mom and I share your excitement about your upcoming trip… and daily prayers for you, Matt and Bella are abundant.

    By the way… I am sorry but I cannot help myself in commenting about an earlier post from a reader.Sharing your “green” excitement and passion with others does not strike me as extreme nor as a sin. :(

    Christ, in all his power and wisdom, was a bit extreme from time to time… wouldn’t you agree..

    And we all thank the Lord that he was!!!

    Rock on Sara…
    Love and God Bless

    Comment by Dad — July 30, 2007 @ 9:04 pm

  16. Yes, Jesus Christ was a radical in his effort to unite humanity and never divide them as Radical Environmentalists do on a regular basis.

    As an example, the radical doctrines of Deep Ecology and Radical and sometimes violent Environmentism consider “humanity” as no more important than the life of an insect and often, not a valid aspect of nature as a whole.

    In accordance, I could quote various leaders and plank holders of that fringe movement but, I am sure you already know what they have said.

    Comment by --**-- — July 31, 2007 @ 7:00 am

  17. First off, I actually came here to give you a link I thought you might be interested in … in another RVer – for different reasons than yours, but interesting.


    Second, I feel the need to comment on the above note. For one, anyone who isn’t man enough to put their name in the comment shouldn’t even be commenting. And have you even met Sara? How can you be so judgmental so “group” all environmental radicals into one category as if you know everything? Plenty of people have been hurt by other “Christians” and if they group me into that same category they would ignore me as well – aren’t you doing the same thing? Just being judgmental?

    Comment by Megan — July 31, 2007 @ 11:12 am

  18. Really-the Christ I know was not afraid at all to step on any toes, He spoke the Truth and didn’t try to make nice all the time. He did what He had to do to complete His Father’s work on Earth-which in itself is totally awesome.

    Anyway Sara is so brave and kind hearted enough to share her experiences us with us, which I am grateful. She is a great example of how Christians should not get caught up in the “things” / materialism of this world.

    Comment by Nikki — July 31, 2007 @ 11:14 am

  19. Megan,

    It has been said that the first person that makes an insult surrenders in the battle of ideas. Congrats.

    Be a kind an open person does not insulate one from being misguided. “being green: is not misguided, it is a personal choice and Sara is widely applauded for that as is any American that follows their personal dreams.

    What is unacceptable is a demand that “all Christians be Radical Environmentalists”. This is a sign of a zealot and is nothing to be proud of.

    Let me leave you with quotes directly from the founders and present leaders of the Deep Ecology and Radical Environmental, fringe movement.

    “Childbearing [should be] a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license…. All potential parents [should be] required to use contraceptive chemicals, the government issuing antidotes to citizens chosen for childbearing.” —David Brower, Friends of the Earth

    “If radical environmentalists were to invent a disease to bring human populations back to sanity, it would probably be something like AIDS. It [AIDS] has the potential to end industrialism, which is the main force behind the environmental crises.” —Earth First! newsletter

    “I think if we don’t overthrow capitalism, we don’t have a chance of saving the world ecologically. I think it is possible to have an ecological society under socialism. I don’t think it’s possible under capitalism.” —Judi Barri of Earth First!

    “We already have too much economic growth in the United States. Economic growth in rich countries like ours is the disease, not the cure.” —Paul Elrich, Stanford University biologist and Advisor to Albert Gore

    “I honor Earth First for having the guts to do the things they do. It’s not for me, but I understand why they do what they do. And, ultimately, we all help each other.” —Brock Adams, VP, Audubon Society, quoted in the Los Angeles Times

    “The right to have children should be a marketable commodity, bought and traded by individuals but absolutely limited by the state.” —Keith Boulding, originator of the “Spaceship Earth” concept

    Comment by --**-- — July 31, 2007 @ 7:30 pm

  20. Hello there…
    First of all, let’s all bring the tone of the conversation down a notch so we can all play nice :) Everyone is entitled to his/her own opinion.

    It would be great if you would give us your name so we can address each other. You are obviously a very articulate and intelligent person…however, I think you have misinterpreted what I was trying to say.

    I said that “Christians should be THE most radical environmentalists”… I didn’t say that “Christians should BE radical environmentalists”. There is a big difference between becoming like the radicals that are already out there…and becoming an entirely new breed of Christ-centered environmentalists…filled with love for God’s creation and compassion and mercy towards those who think differently than they do.

    I hope this clears up anything you might have been upset about.


    Comment by livelightly — July 31, 2007 @ 8:19 pm

  21. Sarah, you have my accurate email address. That was never withheld. Furthermore, no person on this venue uses their full name. Why should I be the first? Is it because we disagree?

    Thanks for clarifying your position and for your insight that you seemingly do not align with the “Radical Environmentalists of today”.

    Question for you – If I make my living as a Logger, ‘am I less a Christian in your eyes because our environmental ideals are the opposite?

    Comment by --**-- — August 1, 2007 @ 7:33 am

  22. On a lighter note……
    I appreciate this last post! So good to hear about what God is teaching you! All this arguing and debating just reminds me again, isn’t it all about the heart anyways? It truly doesn’t matter WHAT we do, as long as our hearts are aligned with Him and obey out of love, rather than religion. We can do all kinds of good things but still do it out of a religious spirit, but how discouraging is that? We will never earn more or less of His love by what we do, how well we do it, or how much we do something! Sarah, God is so in love with you and so proud of your heart in all of this!

    Comment by serenity — August 1, 2007 @ 1:51 pm

  23. I am stunned that there is someone already doing this! wow! My family of 5 and I have been talking about selling our house in Ohio, buying a bus/RV, converting it to veg oil, touring the country living as sustainably as possible and contributing to God’s work at camps, retreat centers – wherever God might lead. I am an arborist and would love to use my skills to further God’s kingdom. I have had strong convictions relating to the stewardship of the earth, and especially in terms of the responsibility given by God Himself.

    What a great idea you have here! I hope to join you – maybe even meet you someday!

    I would like to say to _**_ that I appreciate the balance you are striving to bring. I would ask you to be more gracious. Raising the value of the created earth above the level of those who it was created for (us) is way off. However, I don’t see that worldview peeking out of this family’s website.

    Sustainable living (an overused term perhaps, but one that hits the heart of the issue much more effectively that “environmentalism”) is by it’s very definition essential to continued life on this farm the Lord gave us. Harvesting trees can be done sustainably, so I say a hearty NO to the thought that loggers are less Christian because of their vocation. That said, history shows that we broken humans are not prone to moderation when material success is on the line. The timber industry is no exception – in the PNW or S.America, places that are likely to have huge impacts on atmospheric conditions because of the mass of green they represent. I am a tree professional and would love to see balance on this issue PARTICULARLY among believers.

    I have much to say about this topic, but I dont want to fill you website with it!

    God bless you!!

    Comment by Sean — August 1, 2007 @ 6:05 pm

  24. –**–:
    I guess what I was looking for was something a little more personal than abstract symbols to address you by :) No big deal, it’s just easier. Most people use their first names or a username here.

    Regarding your question about judging someone by their occupation….no, I would not judge someone because they have chosen a certain occupation.

    Comment by livelightly — August 2, 2007 @ 9:39 am

  25. Hi Sara,

    I think your post was beautiful. And while I’m not a real Christian (ok, Catholic by birth but that’s about it), I see your point exactly. RIght on!

    Ok, I’m staying away from that debate, on to another topic and question for you…

    I love Montana as well, but we have avoided it on our trip because of the high cost of real estate there. Same thing with Ketchum Idaho. That country is our favorite ever, but if we go back we’ll fall in love with what I think is the unattainable.

    What was your impression? Is living there affordable in any way whatsoever?


    Comment by Rene — August 2, 2007 @ 9:47 pm

  26. I think that what you are doing is so neat! It is also my dream. Have you heard though that some sate governments are going after the owners of biofuel vehicles for lost fuel taxes?


    I think that is totally ridiculus! They are shooting themselves in the foot and punish good steward ship.

    Comment by Peaceful Meadows — August 5, 2007 @ 4:38 am

  27. Hi Peaceful Meadows…check out the FAQ for the answer to your question :)

    Comment by livelightly — August 5, 2007 @ 10:08 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment