Home, At Last!

Well, I’m finally back from spending a wonderful week in Canberra at our Australia convention!  I flew into LA yesterday morning with the rest of the Stampin’ Up! home office crew, and I was expecting to be home last night, ready to blog about my experience.

Unfortunately, while I was in Australia I got a couple of phone calls that changed my plans—my 78-year-old uncle and my teenage second cousin both had passed away (in unrelated incidents), so I stopped in California to attend a viewing and funeral, while everyone else returned home.

I still want to comment on the convention—it was great! The general sessions had a good mix of information, motivation, instruction, and stamping. We had representatives from the home office, as well as both our Australia and New Zealand offices, and everyone did a fabulous job!

I attended all the classes, and I think there were demonstrator presenters in just about every one. I was so impressed! You guys are fantastic!

The evening activities were equally terrific. The first night was Managers’ Reception, and I loved just casually chatting with our leaders in an open-house-type event. It was fun to catch up with friends I’ve met before, as well as make new friends. (I thought that the yummies were absolutely yummy too!)

And our closing event, the Awards night, was a highlight. We had dinner (something we outgrew in the US years ago) as well as Main Stage recognition. I loved seeing everyone dressed up to the nines and receiving the awards and rewards they so richly deserve!

Overall, I was tickled pink at the quality of presenters we had both on Main Stage and in classes. We all felt like it was a great event. The only complaint I heard (and that was only from two demonstrators) was that there could have been more stamping—but isn’t that always the case? Can you ever have too much stamping?

On a more somber note, I did spend the last two days with family, remembering two wonderful people. The difference between the two scenarios was stark. As I mentioned, my uncle was 78 (he would have turned 79 this month) years old, and he’s been battling cancer for several years. I attended his services today, and it was a celebration of a life well lived; his family mentioned that he had “graduated” and moved on to what we believe is an even more wonderful existence.

My young cousin (a senior in high school) was killed in an accident—hit by a train while she was filming a video for a school project. While her parents know that they will see her again—and they were handling it amazingly well—it was clear that her life was cut tragically short. I attended her viewing last night (I couldn’t attend both funerals because they were scheduled close to the same time and were geographically a couple of hours' drive apart), and her young friends were understandably having a terrible time dealing with her death.

I was grateful to be with family as we honored both of these individuals, and was, as always, reminded of how important our relationships—especially those with our family—are in our lives.