Balloon Birthday Cards

 

I'm almost out of birthday cards and was designing a new one when it dawned on me that I hadn't shared the variety of fun balloon cards from the last big batch. Bright and happy...that's what these cards are! Hopefully they'll brighten your day too.

Christmas Season and Every Day

This holiday season has been unique for Sterling and me. We sent Christmas cards to the missionaries, and we gave little gifts to our branch members and the other senior missionaries we work with, but that was it. We’d given our family the gift of airline tickets to Hawaii (and dinners while they were here) months ago, so December was more relaxing and less stressful than usual. 

Yesterday was a beautiful, warm Christmas day here in Hawaii, and although we missed being with our family, we enjoyed a walk to the beach together in the morning and a quiet afternoon.

Then we had an early and simple tostada dinner, including fresh and yummy homemade salsas and melon and mint, with two of our branch members—Tory and Desiree.

Afterward we watched an inspiring movie called The Cokeville Miracle and an enlightening documentary about Handel and his work Messiah…a perfect way to end Christmas day!

This morning I was surprised to find I was sad when I went to mormonchannel.org to listen to the radio I always listen to, and Christmas music wasn’t playing. Then, as I listened to the uplifting music, I realized that most of the music was Christ-centered and that the Christmas season didn’t need to end. I can continue to listen to beautiful music about Christ and give gifts of love and service all year long.

I’m so grateful for Jesus Christ…for His humble birth and His life of service and sacrifice. I love and honor Him this Christmas season and every day.

Christmas Concert

We’d heard about the annual Christmas concert for months—how it was a long-time tradition (29 years) and an event not to be missed. Well, everyone was right. It was everything we anticipated and more! The doors opened an hour before the concert began, so we arrived early and were surprised to discover people lined up around the building. Although we were in the very back of the Honolulu Tabernacle, we were grateful we made it inside.

There was a beautiful adult concert choir with talented vocal soloists (one of whom was a member of our branch—Tory made us all proud!), an incredible orchestra, a deaf group signing several songs, a drill team dancing during some of the numbers, and sweet youth and children’s choirs. I’ve never been to a community event quite like it, and the two hours flew by quickly.

The concert was a fabulous production and the perfect way to celebrate the Christmas season with festive and sacred music to honor our Savior’s birth.

Beach Front Reception

We went to a reception for one of the couples in our little branch and had an absolutely memorable evening! The gathering of family and friends was intimate, and everything from the invitations to the décor to the favors had a personal and handmade touch. We were impressed!

Although the couple was married in the Laie Temple the day before, they wanted a simple ring ceremony, and the ocean was the perfect backdrop for the occasion. Eric and Kelly had also written sweet letters to each other that were read aloud.

The food was delicious and the program was simple and light-hearted until the end when the bride hula danced to express her thanks. It was so touching and a beautiful way to end a lovely evening.

My few photos definitely don’t do this beach front reception justice, but they’ll provide memories for us as we look back over our mission and the relationships we’ve enjoyed.

More Celebrations

Here are two more birthday packages for Sam and Cooper, who celebrated birthdays recently. Sam loves animals and Cooper loves sports, hence the packaging themes.

Speaking of celebrations, I wasn’t able to be at Patty Bennett’s celebration a few days ago, but you can read about it and see lots of photos on the Stampin’ Up! blog here or on Sara’s Facebook page at facebook.com/asarathing.

Birthday Bags

I’ve not been good at blogging lately, and I’m behind on sharing family birthday packaging, so I’ve got some catching up to do. Sara and Megan had birthdays within the month, so their bags are featured today.

A Mission Highlight

Sterling and I have enjoyed many sweet experiences while serving here in Hawaii, and Friday was among the sweetest. We’ve been teaching temple preparation classes to some of the members in our branch, and Keely was one who attended. She went through the temple for the first time, and we were able to be with her on this special occasion and have lunch with her and her family afterward. We love being a part of the young single adult branch and spending time with these spiritually strong and happy people…definitely a mission highlight!

 

Two Wonderful Women

I’ve thought a lot lately about how grand life is and how grateful I am for the people in my life who influence me for good. Of course, my sweetheart is the most important person in my life (btw, he’s recovering nicely…often tired and needs a daily nap, but slowly getting stronger), and I feel blessed to spend so much time with him and to have had the opportunity to serve him lately.

My thoughts then obviously go to our beautiful family, including our extended family, and their examples in our lives of love, support, and goodness. They truly teach us and bless our lives in immeasurable ways. And, of course, my life would be incomplete without all the fabulous people we get to associate with from around the world.

I usually don’t write of a person’s passing, but with Sterling’s recent stroke and the news that two special Stampin’ Up! demonstrators passed away during this past week, it’s a poignant reminder that life really is short and should never be taken for granted.

These two wonderful women, who struggled with debilitating illnesses, have been a part of the Stampin’ Up! family for many years, and my fond memories of them and the way they touched my life will forever be remembered. Among their notable qualities, Joann was one of the sweetest women you’ll ever meet, and Susy had a way of making everyone laugh. They will truly be missed.

I honor them and thank them for being part of my life. I also thank all of you for your influence in my life. I am blessed!