Tuesday, December 19, 2017

                                       Merry Christmas 2017

"Home for Christmas" 
We found a quote recently that captures much of what seems important to us: “Fill your minds with truth, your hearts with love, and your lives with service.”  Chief among truths we treasure is the living reality of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world ~ and as the saying goes ~ “the reason for the season.” We contemplate the grace of our Heavenly parents as they sent their beloved son to earth that “whoso believeth in Him might have eternal life.”  We’re grateful to share with you the light He brought, and the joy we feel in His love.

We feel that love from you as well, and treasure our years together ~ they have added so much richness to our lives.  We had opportunity to catch up with many of you via Luke’s wedding to Camilla Dudley in September.  We gathered in Provo, Utah to celebrate the wedding and were grateful to see many of you there.

The wedding made a family reunion possible for the second time this year, as we began earlier in May with a family reunion in Cascade, Idaho where 34 of our 35 family members gathered (grandson Alex is a missionary in Romania). 

Luke ~ wishing Camilla would have been part of the family then!
Then again in November, 29 of us were able to gather in Corvallis for a Thanksgiving celebration.  We had such a good time together!

In August, we travelled to New Hampshire to stay at the family cabin on Squam Lake where Rockywold/Deephaven family camps are located (started by Annie’s 2nd great grandmother in 1897).  We joined Laura’s family there for a few days and also had Annie’s 92 year-old mother, Beverly Howe, with us as well.  After they all left, we stayed on and traveled to Prince Edward Island where Tom’s family of origin has lived since the 1840’s when they emigrated to escape Ireland’s potato famine ~ they are still potato farmers!  We loved our time on that beautiful Island of “green gables” and rolling hills covered with lush farms and red cliffs tumbling into the blue ocean.

“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It's splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”
― L.M. MontgomeryAnne of Green Gable-

Cousins : George and (2)Tom Sherrys ~ Seacow Head lighthouse on Sherry land

 8 mile bridge from Nova Scotia to PEI
 A little over a week after Beverly left us and returned to her home on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington, she suffered a significant stroke that permanently disabled her.  What sadness.  Just days earlier she was hiking with us in the NH hills, paddling a canoe, and swimming in the lake.  Now she is confined to a wheelchair and largely unable to communicate.  We are left to primarily love her with our eyes and hugs, giving back something of the wonderful years she cared for and served her family and so many others.

Notwithstanding our sadness, we are grateful for the knowledge that through the atonement of Christ, we will all be healed and made whole again ~ free to love and rejoice in all the many relationships that have become integral to our lives.  With that hope, we send our love to you this blessed season.

                                      Annie & Tom

For those who know some or all of our children:

Matt & Jessica, with Sofia and Lizzie Jane ~ SLC, Utah

Sara & Birch, with Alysee, Nathan, Tyler, Cooper, and Chloe ~ Yakima, Washington

Elder Alex Ditto~Romania/Moldova Mission

Emily & Ryan, with Sage, Hazel, Truman, and Mila ~ Yakima, Washington

Leah & Geoff, with Lucy, Isaac, and Kate ~ Mapleton, Utah

Seth & Caroline, with Cali, young William, and Tommy ~ Corvallis, Oregon

Laura & Jared, with little Rue, Isla, and Sawyer ~ Elko, Nevada
Luke and Camilla ~ Las Vegas, Nevada

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Christmas Wishes ~ 2016

     We're sending our sincerest wishes that Christmas 2016 finds you and your family at peace and close to one another.  Health and temporal welfare are fickle, particularly as the years move along.  But the light and constancy of friends and family make these years especially meaningful.  Add to that the richness of the love we feel from God, our Heavenly Father, His Beloved Son, Jesus, and the gospel they bless us with, helps us to savor the temporal, and cherish the eternal.  Among the latter, is the hope of continued friendship and love with each of you that grows more meaningful as the years pass. 
    In a recent publication entitled, “Five Pillars of Brain Health,” three of the pillars included were discovery, relaxation, and, connection with others.  We’re pretty sure those elements affect a lot more than just brain health, and it seems that they might be apt backdrop for this letter and its many photos:

       Our chief discovery came in June & July when we travelled to England and Scotland.  Though we’ve had a long-standing interest in the UK, watching the PBS series, “Monarch of the Glen especially enamored us with Scotland.  And by the way, we just happened to trek on over to the grand manor itself and loch (lake) where the series was filmed ~ just plain beautiful!
Couldn't resist swimming in the Loch -- oh so cold! 
    Since Leah and Geoff’s were living in England at the time, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to visit them as well.  Geoff was teaching and doing research at Cambridge University and they graciously invited us to join them.  Just walking around their little town of Over, and other nearby communities was worth the trip so beautiful, quaint, and well kept (including Grantchester, for fans of that PBS series).
Leah & Geoff's cottage in Over, England

Enjoying Pavlova in the garden!
"Punting" on the river Thames near Oxford University

We loved our days with Lucy, Kate, Isaac, and Leah (Geoff was off working on campus)

Enjoying the peaceful campus of Cambridge University

If this were our summer cottage, would you come visit?
Oh, to die for! Scones, clotted cream, and jam at the garden in Grantchester
We travelled together from England to Scotland where we attended the national Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh.  It was extraordinary in every way, and we so enjoyed the convergence of people from all over Scotland who took such special pride in their animal husbandry and agriculture.

After the fair we were off to some picturesque touring in Edinburgh; and that yummy fish & chips found everywhere in the UK -- unbeatable! 

Edinburgh skyline and the Firth of Forth river heading to the North Sea

Edinburgh Castle
Way too soon, the Wrights needed to return to England so we were off to explore the circumference of Scotland in the cutest little Fiat.  We must say that our hearts were smitten by Scotland ~ a beautiful place and joyous people that we wouldn’t mind spending more time with!  And that wonderful Scottish accent and unique expressions that kept us continually wanting to talk with and overhear conversations everywhere we could find them everyday was worth it just to be out among the people.
Isle of Skye

Reindeer were once native to Scotland and have been reintroduced

Tough to decide just where you'd like to live - but we think this might do!
    Home again, home again ~ and we have to say that daily views out our windows in Corvallis are not too bad!
"Donna" the deer likes resting in the cool outside our living room window

Turkeys love foraging in the yard but they especially enjoy the Fall when we throw them apples!
Beautiful Cannon Beach, Oregon
We love living in Corvallis though few places are more serene and relaxing than New Hampshire and beautiful Squam Lake.  The family cabin there is filled with memories and this year we shared time with Annie’s family and our daughter, Emily.  Stunning and peaceful . . .
From Mt. Morgan, looking back at Squam Lake
At age 91, Annie's mother, Beverly, hiked on her own to the top of Rattlesnake Mountain!
Emily, Annie, Beverly, brother Patrick, & Tom
Each week, people from all over the lake boat over to Church Island
for Sunday services ~ especially cool and inspiring! 
How many feet have smoothed the surface of the dance floor during
its 119 years of weekly Friday night dances at Rockywold-Deephaven camps?
     No matter the setting, best of all is the joy found in connecting with family and friends.  Gratefully, we had lots of visiting this year.  Here's just a few snippets:
Grandbaby #20 ~ Rue Haven Watts, born to Laura and Jared on March 1st
Grandbaby #21 ~ William James Sherry, born to Caroline & Seth on May 5th

Sofia Sherry at her special "re-birth" baptismal day 

Cousins, Sage Andersen and Chloe Ditto were also baptized this year.  We're grateful that our
children are raising their kids with a firm and joyous belief in Christ!
Annie & Hazel Andersen

A lovely hike in Corvallis with
Lucy Wright, Cali Sherry, William Sherry, Kate Wright, Tommy Sherry, & Isaac Wright

Oregon tree huggers

Sage and Mila Andersen with Isla Watts.  What's that saying? Train 'em up right
and when they are old they will become cowgirls!

We had had four wonderful days with Lizzie and Sofia while Matt & Jess were in New Hampshire

Kate, Isaac, and Lucy Wright ~ horse lovers too!
Sublime connection!  Chloe Ditto giving a royal massage to Annie when our
families met on the Oregon Coast for vacation in June.
    We were particularly moved this past summer when attending a Sunday evening “Sing-In” on Squam lake.  People from around the region have been gathering each week for years during the summer months in a classy old blacksmith’s shop to share hymn singing.  One of our favorites is: “Here I Am, Lord” and the first verse seems a fitting close to our Christmas wish:

I, the Lord of sea and sky,
I have heard My people cry.
All who dwell in deepest pain
My hand will save.
I who made the stars of night,
I will make their darkness bright.
Who will bear My light to them?
Whom shall I send?

. . . and then the choral refrain:

Here I am, Lord.
Is it I. Lord?
I have heard You calling in the night.
I will go, Lord, If you lead me.
I will hold Your people in my heart.

Here I Am Lord (click here for video)

Reflecting the message of that hymn, it has been said: “While it is a beautiful sight to see the lights of Christmas, it is more important to have human lives illuminated by an acceptance of Him who is the light of the world.” 

We so often see that light emanating from you, and wish each a Merry Christmas as we send our love and best wishes for the New Year.

💚 Annie & Tom 💚

Now for those of you who know some or all of our kids, here's the latest family photos!
Jessica, Lizzie, Sofia, and Matt Sherry (with Milo :)
The Ditto family: Alysee, Cooper, Tyler, and Nathan in front,
Sara, Birch, Chloe, and Alex (who is serving a mission in Romania now!)
Sage, Mila, Ryan, Truman, Emily, and Hazel Andersen
Isaac, Kate, Lucy, Geoff, and Leah Wright on their summer adventure while in Italy

Seth, with Willie aboard, Tommy, Caroline, and Cali Sherry

Sawyer and Isla welcome new sister, Rue, into the world
Laura and Jared Watts

Luke Sherry