My Christmas Letter

Thank you to all my wonderful friends, both real and virtual, who sent us cards; my wall is happy and I’m surrounded by reminders of those we love dearly. Per my request, Mr. Jason has written our Christmas letter, it will be going out shortly. Never has a keyboard been put to such good use, I think I’m going to hand it over permanently.

Okay that’s a lie. No way am I giving up the Christmas letter forever.

J and I were discussing 2011 in the car today, reminiscing about some of the things we’ve done/seen/visited. Holy backpack we’ve been busy. We’ve never had a year this monumental and if we know what’s good for us, we’ll never have one like it again.

We’ve been to: Disneyland, Sun River, Las Vegas, Izmir, Jerusalem, Basel, Rome, Athens, Paris, too many German villages to count, plus a number of cities in between.

We’ve purchased: A house, a trout pond, four vehicles, a couch, two dressers, and enough Ikea crap to furnish a moderate apartment.

We’ve sold: Four vehicles, a couch, two dressers, and enough old Ikea crap to furnish a moderate apartment.

We’ve lost: Five teeth, a cat, car keys, a house key, six stuffed animals, four dozen socks, 190 euros, $40, and numerous tubes of June’s lipstick.

We’ve found: 150 euros, $40, four of the six animals, too many new friends to count, and strength we didn’t know we had.

Frankly I can’t decide if this year has been exhaustingly fun or just plain exhausting. Judging by the state of my kitchen in this post-Christmas moment I’m going to go with exhausting.

I’ve learned this year that my little family is strong. We’ve moved across the world, left family and friends and familiarity behind, and what we’ve found is a well of strength and love I didn’t know we had. We’re like an aquifer and I’ve got to give credit to the Lord. If it wasn’t for the example Jesus Christ has set for us and the Gospel here on Earth, I’m sure we’d be a surly, faithless bunch with a lot more spitting and biting (something we’re working on these days) and not nearly as many hugs.

As we finished up the Christmas celebration with games and food we found ourselves comfortably seated around the dining room table listening to Kixi AM 880 streaming online. I was saying how happy we are here in Germany, how much I love my house and what wonderful friends we’ve found…and then I heard it.

Within seconds of the music hitting my ears I was choked up and homesick beyond belief. I’m certainly not the first person in the last 150 years to hear the tune to “Home, Sweet Home,” who’s found herself misty-eyed and speechless. “Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam, Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.”  Truer words were never written.

To my friends and family members who keep up with us online and in print, we love you. We miss you. You matter to us. Seeing the world is great, seeing you is better. I am certain I’ve been blessed with more wonderful people in my life than just about anyone. From close relatives to distant cousins, teachers, neighbors and really nice grocery store clerks, I am continually reminded just how great people really are.

The world; there’s still so much goodness to be found.

Happy Holidays, my friends.






  1. Kristina P. says:

    This was lovely. Now I need to go to IKEA for some reason.

  2. You should just send this out, its beautiful! I teared up with the “Home, Sweet Home” and I live near my family! haha

  3. Beautifully written! I love to follow your adventures, thanks for sharing. Here’s hoping that next year you have another fun filled life adventure!

  4. What an awesome post for the end of the year. Even though I have never met you Annie I love reading your blog. You have made me Think twice, cry and Laugh this past year. Have a very Blessed New Year and I can’t wait to read your 2012 blog

  5. I hope you and your family have a very Happy and Blessed New Year also. It has been wonderful following along on your journey as you have been to and seen many amazing places. Here is to a new year and many new adventures!

  6. I haven’t been following your adventures as closely as I would have liked but what I have read about and seen has made me exhausted just hearing about it all. You really are an amazing lady. May the new year bring you some rest and relaxation.

  7. It’s so great to see you in such a good place. I know a move can be difficult, and it’s very healthy to have those ‘gosh, aren’t we lucky?’ conversations with your spouse as often as possible. Love your travel itinerary, and laughed out loud at the things you had bought and sold. Don’t we all do that?? Happy New Year, my darling friend.

  8. oh my. i cannot say that this left me speechless (cause really that’s to be blamed on whatever virus i’ve picked up in all the holiday people visiting over the past two weeks), but i can say it left me without words in my mouth & it left me with tears in my eyes. i love how your brain works & how beautifully you’re able to spill it all out in letters, words, & conciseness on a page/screen. thanks for being one of my most favorite blessings in both 2010 & 2011. annie, you’ve been a gift in my life & i’m grateful. glad to know i’ve got another splendid friend halfway across the world from here, but yet so close to my heart. happy new year! may it be as blessed if not more so than the last. ::hugs::