Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Christmas 2014

Oh, the joy of Christmas!
        An angel once asked an ancient prophet; “Knowest thou the condescension of God?”  The prophet answered: “I know that he loveth his children.”  The angel then confirmed that because of God’s love, he would send His beloved son, Jesus Christ, to earth, and that through Christ, the love of God would find its way into the whole world and would be “most desirable above all things . . . Yea, and the most joyous to the soul.” (Book of Mormon, p. 20)
Made from coconut husk, seashells, tapa cloth, seed pods, and bamboo
we gathered in Fiji and saved to create a Creche
      And so we come to another Christmas season, feeling that the Gospel of Jesus Christ truly is “most desirable above all things,” and so worth celebrating.  Merry Christmas to each of you, our dear friends and family.

       For much of the past year, we worked hard planning for a youth Pioneer Trek re-enactment that we were asked to organize.  We had a wonderful crew of assistants and took over 300 youth and adults into the Mt. Washington, Oregon wilderness for 4 days in July to pull handcarts and learn anew what drove so many LDS pioneers to sacrifice everything to preserve and establish their faith during the 1850’s and how we might do the same today.  We were especially grateful to share this experience with Seth and Caroline who acted as a “Ma and Pa” over one of the 25 “families” of about 8-9 youth each (ages 12-18).  With everyone dressed in pioneer clothes, we made quite a sight trekking through some of the most beautiful country on earth.

Perhaps a part of the “spirit” of our efforts was well captured in this poem:
         Do you all wonder as we, when it comes time for Christmas cards: “Should we be brief, or long; informative, or expeditious?  Always a dilemma and perhaps solved only by the reader.  But if the old saying be true, that a picture is worth a thousand words – then brace yourselves; you only have about 10,000 words left!

         Other highlights of the year included trips to Gardiner, Washington to visit Annie’s parents, Dick Howe (who turned 90 in January) and Beverly (turned 89 in May), and to be with Annie’s brothers and their families who also came for the celebrations.

         Sadly, Tom’s 88 year-old mother Virginia Broennimann, lost her husband Rudolf in February and the family gathered together at that time in Salt Lake City, Utah.  In the summer, we visited again and she was in good spirits.

         We also enjoyed lots of time throughout the year visiting and being visited by our 7 children and now, 19 grandchildren (Emily had a baby boy, Truman, in September). It was an amazing experience to visit Laura and Jared in Elko, Nevada and have Jared give us a tour of the mining site where he works (in Industrial Safety), with its expansive excavation of minerals and ginormous vehicles.
Tom, Annie, and Laura
(And that's just the wheel size -- can you imagine the vehicle on top!)
         With a great year of snow in Oregon, we cross-country and downhill skied, and as winter gave way to summer we took grand kids to their first rodeo and made our annual trip to Annie’s family cabin on Squam Lake in New Hampshire.
With Luke and the Wrights at Sundance, Utah
Mt. Hood, Oregon
Alta, Utah with Matt and daughters, Sofia and Lizzie Jane 
Tommy Sherry (still smiling after his "mutton bustin'" experience),
along with Sage and Mila Andersen

Squam Lake, New Hampshire
     On our return from NH, Tom joined Seth, Matt, and son-in-law Geoff Wright (along with others), for a 3-day "epoch" canyoneering adventure in southern Utah. (see video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bL6SuFL0t7Y&feature=em-upload_owner)
At the top of "Dang" Canyon - well named!
He also spent 10 days in Japan with our son, Luke who moved to Tokyo after graduating in Graphic Design and Fine Arts from Brigham Young University in April. Tom served as a missionary there from 1969-1971 and it was a wonderful opportunity for him to travel with Luke and renew a few old friendships.
At Himeji Castle
Yes - Kobe Beef is worthy of its reputation!
Their time together was especially nice as soon thereafter, Luke moved from Japan to Australia in November.  He has a work visa for one year and hopes to find employment in his field of expertise. While Tom was in Japan, Annie took the train to Seattle and crossed over by ferry to the Olympic Peninsula to visit her parents again for a few days.  The train is the way to go!
     At Thanksgiving, we were blessed to enjoy a visit from Leah & Geoff and their kids, along with Emily and Ryan and Seth & Caroline’s families. We carried on Annie's family tradition of making apple cider and ended with about 13 gallons of the most delicious drink in the world.  Everyone took their share home and we’ll be remembering each other through the year as each gallon is thawed & enjoyed.
Huge apples from Yakima -- thanks Andersens!
Everyone pitched in on the cidering -- well, the kids mostly ate apples and drank cider
Tom ("Poppy"), Isaac, Kate, Lucy, Thomas
Even our friends' grandkids couldn't resist joining ours for a tractor ride with Ami
Lucy learning to sew with Ami
Kate proved you're never too young to start!

         As 2014 ebbs to a close, we think of friends and family scattered far and wide – including those in Fiji, and wish you all the best of blessings and love for the coming year. Til’ we meet again . . . Love, from Annie & Tom Sherry.
And now – here’s the latest pictures from all the kids!
Sofia, Jessica, Lizzie & Matt Sherry
(SLC, Utah)
Tyler, Alex, Alysee, Nate, Sara, Cooper, Birch, & Chloe Ditto
(Yakima, Washington)
Mila, Ryan, baby Truman, Emily, Hazel & Sage Andersen
(Yakima, Washington)
Kate, Isaac, Leah, Lucy & Geoff Wright
(Mapleton, Utah)
Seth, Cali, Caroline & Thomas Sherry
(Corvallis, Oregon)
Laura, Sawyer, Isla, & Jared Watts
(Elko, Nevada)
Luke in one of many modeling photo shoots for Japanese companies 
What a great smile!  Luke readily makes friends everywhere he goes.
No smiles allowed on this classic photo shoot