Sunday, December 16, 2012

Our Christmas Letter

12 Highlights of 2012 
Brown Family Memories 

2012 was a year full of many good things for our family. As the year draws to a close, we’d like to celebrate some special memories that came in numbered sets. Like the 12 days of Christmas, here are the 12 highlights of 2012 for our family:

12 Months of Love 
From January to December, our family has been blessed with a lot of love. We celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary this year and know that our love has grown even deeper since the day we said, “I do.” Through the hard times (like the passing of Josh’s Grandma Davis) and the fun times (like special trips as a family), our love and commitment has grown this year.

11 Towns Passed on RAGBRAI
When RAGBRAI passed through Altoona last year, Josh was inspired to try riding in it himself. This year, he joined the bike ride and did two days of the journey. He rode over 100 miles from Marshalltown to Anamosa. He got up early each day and made great time. The thing he enjoyed most was seeing the encouragement from the people in the towns he rode through.

10 Cub Scout Meetings 
Following in his Eagle Scout daddy’s footsteps, William joined the Tiger Cub Den in Pack 463 in Altoona this year. William has enjoyed doing “Go-See-It” field trips to the Historical Building, State Capitol and caroling at a nursing home. He’s working hard to earn badges and beads. This year he was already the third highest popcorn salesman in his pack!

9 Years of Teaching (for Anna) 
This fall, Anna began her 9th year of teaching in Des Moines. This year, she is busy with three preps: Conceptual Physics, Forensic Science and finally (after many years of waiting), Biology. She loves working with the staff and students at North High School. There are a lot of great things happening at this inner-city school and she loves feeling like her work there makes a positive difference.

8 Months of Blogging 
As you know, Josh is always busy with something. Between his work of passionately fighting for causes, meticulously organizing our family, and doing countless other things, Josh set a goal this year of maintaining a “balanced life.” To keep himself accountable and to record stories of his journey, Josh began his blog, “Brown’s Balanced Life” this year. On his blog, Josh writes about his efforts to maintain balance in his life. You can follow the blog at

7 Years at Goodrell (for Josh) 
This year marks Josh’s seventh year teaching at Goodrell. He is currently teaching 6th grade Global Studies, a social studies class that includes current events, culture, history and geography studies. He enjoys the enthusiasm of the 6th grade students. Some of his former students are even coming to North and have had both Mr. and Mrs. Brown as teachers! Josh also continues to be active within the teacher’s union. He is currently serving as the state executive board representative for the Des Moines Education Association. He was also elected Central Region Director for the National Council of Urban Education Associations this summer.

6 (And a half) Years of life (for William) 
William is very silly these days and brings lots of joy to our lives. He is a good singer, funny joke-teller and champion Lego builder. He is in first grade at the Downtown School and has done projects this year learning about apples and teeth. This year he even lost two of his own teeth and has two more wiggly ones right now. He is hoping he gets to sing, “All I want I want for Christmas is my two front teeth!” William also has been a generous giver this year donating some of his toys to others and giving away some of the money he has earned by doing jobs.

5 Days in Italy 
Anna’s surprise Christmas gift last year was plane tickets to Italy! This year, during spring break, we did a whirlwind tour of Venice, Pisa, and Rome. We were blessed to have our friends, the Hayes family, who were stationed near Venice as our tour guides. They were generous hosts and took us to all of the best restaurants, wineries and markets! We saw many beautiful and historic sites. It was amazing!

4 Small Group Studies 
This year we enjoyed growing closer to God and our Christian community by participating in four different Bible study groups. We did two Andy Stanley Bible studies, Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey and Rick Warren’s 40 Days in the Word. Each study deepened our faith and walk with Christ.

3 People Running 
We were literally a very colorful family this year as all three of us ran in the 5K Color Run in Des Moines. This was one of many fitness challenges for us this year. Both Josh and Anna maintained memberships at Kosama. Josh participated in MANY runs including the Kosama warrior runs, Race for the Cure, Living History Farms race, Zombie Run, and even completed his first half marathon! Josh was awarded prizes in many of the races he ran. We are very proud of him!

2 Baby Nieces 
It was a joy to welcome our two baby nieces, Ava and Addie to the world this fall. They are both precious and perfect! We can’t wait to get to know them more and shower them with love. William is excited to be a cousin too!

1 Amazing God! 
We are honored to serve an amazing God. We experienced his grace in profound ways this year. He has challenged us to give and serve in new ways. We continue to be amazed by Him and look forward to many good things in the future!


  1. Merry Christmas! Love hearing what you're up to... I'm always amazed at how many things you're able to do & be involved in. Hugs!

  2. I love this family letter! What a fun filled beautiful year you had!