2014 Christmas letter

I suppose it is traditional to write a Christmas letter and enclose it with my Christmas cards.  I have failed to do that for the last several years. It feels presumptuous to me, I guess. I don’t really know. Maybe in the age of Facebook, I don’t feel like the Christmas update is as necessary.

There is some value in introspection though, so I’ll give it a shot.

Dear Friends and Family-

Well, can you believe it? We managed that annual trip around the sun once again.  I hope this season finds you all in good health and high spirits.  Just remember, winter is coming. 😉

This year has been a good one for me, I think.  A lot of things have come to completion, which is nice, and I have probably grown a lot too.

I continue to work for Ford Motor Company in the lovely state of Michigan. For the last 5 years or so, I have been part of team working on the launch of the Ford Transit in North America.  The Transit has been around in Europe for a long time, and we have attempted to bring it over to replace the Econoline / E-Series van several times. As a finance analyst, we have helped track and report the costs and help the engineering team make profitable decisions.

This year was a key year for us, as the vehicle finally reached production in Kansas City, MO.  After all that time, we had to prove that we knew how much the vehicle was costing.  It has been an interesting and challenging assignment, as we worked with our colleagues in England to coordinate and assess the damage.  Fortunately, we came in right on our forecasted costs, which is exactly what you want.

Now that the Transit is on the road, I am looking for new assignments at Ford. Nothing yet, but there are some promising opportunities coming up.

On the home front, I’ve had a good year. I remodeled my master closet to put in more storage. I put up a gallery wall display in the dining room.  I also had a great flower garden, lots of gorgeous tulips this spring, and then a fantastic display of gladiolas, petunias and zinnias over the summer.  I added two more raised beds to my vegetable garden, got a fantastic and delicious harvest of cherry tomatoes, and an ok harvest of everything else.

I taught in the Primary in my ward, first the 9-10 year old class, and then after half the kids moved out, the 7-8 year old class.  I’ve got a bunch of characters in my class, and it’s been a lot of fun and a growing experience for both me and the kids.

Along with my two awesome sisters, Julia and Lara, I helped plan a successful family reunion for my dad’s side of the family. We got together in Lovell with most of my aunts and uncles and cousins and their kids, and spent a long weekend hiking and swimming and remembering our grandparents.  (I ran a very successful photobooth at a family carnival!) It was a nice trip out west, and a great time seeing some of my cousins who I haven’t seen in ages.

One of the most positive influences for me this year has been my participation with Affirmation, a support group for LGBT Mormons.  In early May, I attended a retreat in Nauvoo where I began to build relationships with other gay Mormons. In September, I presented a TED-style talk at the annual conference in Salt Lake city.  It has been very helpful for me to understand other journeys and other perspectives in the journey to understand and reconcile my personal experiences.

I also had a lot of fun taking baking classes this year.  The local food emporium has a teaching arm, and I took a sourdough bread class, a European cookies class, and a Pizza class.  I also took a tart making class through the local Rec and Ed department.  Lots of good fun baking!

Don’t worry. I have had my share of personal failures and setbacks this year, not everything is a walk in the park, but a Christmas letter isn’t really the place for the airing of grievances. (Do people write Festivus letters for that?)

I hope you have had a great year too.

All the best-

Brady