The last Small Scale Life Podcast Episode was posted on September 9, 2022. This was two days before Danny passed away, and after a long road, we are back to say Merry Christmas and begin to shine our light like the sun once again.

In this episode of the Small Scale Life Podcast, your host Tom talks about the past three months including losing Danny and the long road since September 11, 2022. Tom reads a beautiful Christmas letter written by Julie. At the end of the episode, Tom discusses future episodes and closes with the Small Scale Life offering.

Shine Our Light: Christmas Letter 2022

Split Rock Lighthouse, Lake Superior, Northshore, vacation, find your lighthouse

To start to come out of this hole and shine our light, Julie wrote the following Christmas letter.  We sent it to our friends and family this week.

Merry Christmas!

I am sitting here this morning trying to remember the last time I sent out Christmas cards.  Honestly it was probably at least five years ago.  Somehow the constant “connection” of technology has taken the place of some of the old traditions.  But if this year has taught us anything, it has taught us that one of the greatest gifts we are given is true connection with those we love.  And I have realized there really is something special about receiving a card in the mail, the good old-fashioned way. 

 So let me start by saying “THANK YOU.” From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.  For every card, gift, meal, message, phone call and hug – we have received them all and our gratitude is beyond measure.  The amount of love and support that we have been shown this year is nothing short of unbelievable.  We always knew we were surrounded by amazing people, and we are reminded of that fact every single day. 

 And the big question is, how are we doing?  That is a question that we are asked often, and the answer really depends on the day, on the hour that you ask us.  Our lives will forever be divided into two parts: life with Danny, and life without.  We are learning to move forward and navigate this world with a big piece of our hearts missing.  As I wrote in my journal the other day, our lives feel like a piece of pottery that has been dropped on the ground and broken into a thousand pieces.  We have realized that we are never going to be able to glue that piece of pottery back together the way it once was because one of the pieces has been forever lost.  Now it is up to us to turn that shattered mess into a beautiful piece of mosaic art.  That missing piece will forever have changed that pottery into something different, yet it can still be unique and beautiful.  We just have to take the time to allow the vision to develop and then put it together, one piece at a time.  It’s going to be a long process.  But we have faith, and we know our sweet boy is running forever free in heaven with his Grandpa Tom, Grandma Barb, Cousin Colin, and all of our other lost loved ones.

Although this year has been one of the worst that I hope we will ever survive, it has also brought some amazing gifts to our family.  The little smiling peanut in the picture on our card is Mr. Declan Todd, who was born to my brother David and his sweet wife Jenny on October 9th.  His little face brings us so much joy, and we are beyond excited to go down to Austin, TX to meet him in person over the holidays!  Jenny and Dave send us our “Daily Dose of Declan” texts that brighten up our lives every single day.  And I’m sure Jenny is very happy to not be asked when they are going to start a family anymore! LOL.  (Although, when do we get to start asking when Declan will get a little brother or sister??? HMMMMM… probably too soon. )

So, to answer the question of how we are doing, we are OK.  We are surviving.  We will learn to thrive again, in time.  But mainly, we are blessed.  Blessed by our loving God, and blessed by each and every one of you in our lives.  If I can offer any advice this holiday season, it’s that you forego the “stress” that comes with it, release those little annoyances, and try to be completely present in each and every moment.  And always, ALWAYS, remember to tell everyone how much you love them!

With love and light,

Julie, Tom and Ryan 

Our Road Ahead


The road ahead isn’t easy.  There will always be questions, anger, grief and conversations about what happened and how to proceed.  We know that this photo can never be recreated again, but there are a lot of faces here that remind us that life goes on, life goes forward.  Julie and I are going to work that much harder to connect with our family and friends and create that beautiful mosiac.  It is possible; we will do it.  There is no other way forward for us. 

As we have learned over five years of Danny’s sobriety, three years of Julie’s sobriety, and almost a year of Ryan’s sobriety:

The opposite of addiction is connection. 

We will connect, and we will create.  We will shine our light into the darkness, and show the world a way forward as we learn do grow and be a little better everyday.

This is our path. This is how we will shine our light for others to see.


Merry Christmas, Small Scale Life Community. We are blessed to have you part of our tribe, and we will be back really soon.


In Closing….Offering Prayer, Norse Pagan, Wellness, Blot

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Last Runner Standing Ultramarathon, Duluth, MN

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Special Thanks

For Small Scale Life Podcasts, I would like to thank Sean at Osi and the Jupiter for the intro song "Harvest."  Sean wrote this specifically for us, and I really enjoy all of his work.  You can find more Osi and the Jupiter at their Bandcamp site:

I would also like to thank Austin Quinn at Vlog Vibes for the intro and outro music. For more information abut Austin and Vlog Vibes, please see the Vlog Vibes YouTube Channel:



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