Annual Christmas Letter

Sending out a short family oriented letter recapping our year has become our custom. Here’s an edited version of what we did this year.

We’ve done a few interesting things this year. We spent a week in Bend, Oregon in July where the lingering snow pack kept us out some of our favorite trails in the Cascades, but we explored some new areas in the Ochoco Mountains east of Prineville.

We had a wonderful family vacation week in Mammoth Lakes. Explored 4×4 roads, Bodie, Mono Lake and an incredible set of volcanic cracks, June Lake Loop, Laurel Canyon, and an old mining camp in the White Mountains. 

A couple of highlights of our trip up the north coast was a hike at Sinkyone Wilderness where we came face to face with a Roosevelt Elk and a hike way into the backcountry of Redwood National Park where we spooked a bear at an old ranch bunkhouse.

We delight in having our kids close by. Mark and Annmarie are busy with their young family. Annmarie loves to document life with the kids on her blog. Mark pursues his photography with passion, and is becoming an accomplished landscape photographer ( We have so much fun interacting with their kids. Cortnie dreams of ballerinas and dances at the drop of a hat, Audree loves babies (especially her little brother) and is becoming quite accomplished at horseback riding. Chase is a toddler now, and seems to get into everything. Dan and Janet surprised us during our family Thanksgiving celebration with the happy news that they are expecting. The happy surprise was more than doubled when they phrased it in the plural—twins! Double the fun!

We celebrate the Christmas season because “the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” We are unapologetic to be followers of Him whose birth was announced by the angel, but as we mellow with age (or perhaps become wiser) we are saddened by the realization that we have not always compassionately cared for others as Jesus called us to do. Nevertheless, we wish you a merry Christmas—one filled with reflection and rejoicing, family and friends, gift giving and receiving, and a clear vision of Him who is far more than a baby in a manger.

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