South Dakota Locals, Colorado Commuters


While the pumpkin pushers pounded the hardwood of the NCAA tourney, Elizabeth and I endured our own kind of March Madness, followed by an Angry April: packing, moving, packing and moving some more.

That’s right, we recently made the decision to move from Colorado to South Dakota. It proved a simultaneously difficult and easy decision. Difficult, because we love Colorado and had no intention of moving. Easy, because medically it makes sense that we live in Sioux Falls for the forseeable future. I’ll explain more later, but when we visited Colorado in March, we actually started the packing the process and then returned in early April to finish the deed.

Here’s the crazy part: we ended up buying a house in Sioux Falls from a distance while we were packing up our belongings in Longmont. No kidding. We consider this house a miraculous provision from God, and the timing of the purchase helped take the sting out of the move. Check out Elizabeth’s blog for the full story.

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So why did we move? As you may recall, I have been receiving experimental treatment that has given me amazing results in my cancer journey. Here is the crux (to borrow a climbing term): I cannot get the same treatment outside of Sioux Falls—maybe not even the rest of the United States, or the world for that matter.

Cancer treatment approval can be an extremely slow-moving and political machine—it takes an average of 17 years for a tested treatment to be approved by the FDA—and people like me simply cannot wait that long. Fortunately, there are people fighting for urgency within the machine, like my genomic oncologist, Dr. Leyland-Jones. If you have a second, you should watch this video about him. His research is changing the way people fight cancer, and God has used him immensely in my life.


Pippa surveys our Crabapple Tree in front of our new house.

And so we are now officially Sioux Falls residents. I actually haven’t been one since shortly after college. We have plenty of reasons to be happy about being here—family, friends, a ski area 10 minutes from our house, to name a few. I would not say we love the long winters, but then as my dad would say, “the rocks come with the farm.”

Lest you think we won’t be seeing the mountains of Colorado anytime soon, in June we head there for six weeks to work on a Lifelines Summer Mission and attend part of the Cru conference in Fort Collins, along with a quick return trip in between for treatment. And even after that, we will have plenty of reasons to go there both personally and professionally.

And so we are embracing our status as South Dakota locals, and Colorado commuters.

Back to our moving madness, it was utterly brutal—brutal because I relearned just how difficult it is to try and get work done with a near-two-year-old and also because my energy has not returned to full capacity—and probably won’t for a long time. Most days I’m at 65-70 percent of my normal energy. With bad sleep, it can be even less.

I hit a breaking point at several different points on our moving day. One was when the transport truck company called me at 4:55 p.m. on a Friday afternoon (they were scheduled to ship it Monday morning) and said they couldn’t ship my Tacoma to South Dakota unless I paid double, even though we had a contract! The other happened because we underestimated the job—we thought we would finish by 2 p.m. but as the clock neared 7 p.m. we weren’t even close! Soon Pippa started wailing from being hangry—hungry and angry—meanwhile twirling a wet toilet bowl brush in her hands that we had failed to put out of reach. Yikes!

We somehow survived the chaos of that day, and those weeks. Seeing a lot of our friends helped buoy our spirits. In fact, one of those days I skied at Loveland Pass with a good buddy, and that was definitely a highlight. Yet, saying goodbye to our friends and Colorado was as mixed and bittersweet as you can imagine.

Logistically, the silver lining was we were able to schlep our stuff directly into our new house—it was already vacated and the sellers were willing to negotiate the closing date. This proved a huge blessing.

And so now we now live in our new home—new to us that is (actually built in 1940). Pippa loves to say the term, “new house.” And so do we.


I’ve already been researching some local adventures in South Dakota. Palisades offers climbing a mere 25 minutes away, and the Needles is world class climbing in the Black Hills.

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Elizabeth and I spent a weekend climbing the Needles a few years ago including Tent Peg, but felt like we barely scratched the surface. We look forward to exploring there again soon!

2 thoughts on “South Dakota Locals, Colorado Commuters

  1. Hello, Chris! Thank you for your posts. We have a mutual friend, Aaron Campbell, and he told me you and your family have moved to Sioux Falls. My family and I have recently moved to Brookings. We would love to be friends and go hiking too!


    Acts 20:24

    • Hey Ty. Thanks for writing. Yes, I definitely remember Aaron. He’s a great guy and we had a lot of fun on project a few years ago. Yes, we should definitely connect sometime. My wife and I are near McKennan Park in Sioux Falls. I’ll shoot you an email.

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