I Did It Again!

As you know, I’ve been a little preoccupied and haven’t scheduled any events, but my plan was/is to continue to share monthly “set samplers”. Well, I completely forgot AGAIN about the projects for the month of February, which should have been posted at the end of January. Thanks to a faithful reader, who kindly reminded me, you will receive two sets of projects in a matter of days!

At convention last year, I shared my calendar of themes for the year, focusing on sets from the annual catalog. The theme for February was condolence and thinking of you. You’ll notice I threw in a baby tag/gift, and I also used the set for the bookmark I posted last week. I chose to feature An Open Heart, a simple yet elegant set…one of my favorites. I can also see this set being used for Mother’s Day and birthdays. It’s just a beautiful set!


A Special Man

Paul Bailey Harrison breathed his last breath this morning after being unresponsive for nearly two days…a bittersweet moment for family and friends who will miss this special man known as Grandpa Paul.

After six weeks of recovering from brain surgery and doing remarkably well, Paul fell on Saturday morning while preparing his breakfast. Thankfully he managed to dial 911.

He was flown to St. George via helicopter with my sister Leslie, after being told that he may not make the flight. My other sister Vonna stayed behind to notify the rest of us, to make arrangement for Tater (Grandpa’s dog), and to gather a few things before driving over. It was a sobering moment when Sterling and I got the call from Vonna, telling us that if we wanted a chance to see Paul, we needed to drive to St. George as quickly as possible.

He did make the flight, but once examined, it was obvious that one of the cavernous malformations (the inoperable one on his brainstem) had grown, and there was nothing his wonderful neurosurgeon could do. The damage was done.

That evening and all day Sunday were spent with family members visiting around Grandpa Paul’s hospital bed, hugging him, holding his hand, rubbing his legs, and telling him over and over how much he was loved. He seemed to be aware when someone new joined the “party” and then would settle again into his pattern of breathing while we visited. As one of my nieces put it, “It was so nice having everyone there, to feel so much love in one room. We have a special family. And Paul is a special man. I personally feel so much more at peace knowing that he was able to feel all of our love.”

There was a period of maybe an hour or so on Sunday morning when he opened his eyes briefly off and on and responded to yes and no questions with a nod. Those of us who were in the room will never forget that tender mercy…to know he wasn’t in pain (even though his breathing was labored), to know he wasn’t anxious, to know he was excited to see his sweetheart, and to acknowledge that he'd "fought a good fight!"

As Sterling and I prepared to drive back home before the snowstorm grew worse, I tenderly kissed this sweet and special man’s forehead as I said my last goodbye. And since none of our girls and their families were able to travel to see him, I told Grandpa Paul my kiss was times 28 for all of our little ones and littlest ones (that’s what he called his grandchildren and great-grandchildren).

Although there are many from Stampin’ Up! who worked with Paul before he retired and who would like to join us, we’ll be honoring and celebrating Paul’s life this weekend as a family with no formal service or fuss…just as he requested, just like Paul!

I’m so glad and grateful we were able to spend a few precious hours with a special man who enthusiastically loved his family, who positively loved life with all its challenges, and who is now happily reunited with my Mom Heather!

Congratulations! Etc.

Congratulations to the following winners who filled out the survey Sara posted on February 3rd and guessed that Sterling and I would serve our mission in Hawaii!

Wanda Soares

Susan LaCroix

Amanda Sevall

Bethany Rozek

Gina Maginnis

Delona Muhlestein

Margie Roderer

Belle Harder

Each winner will receive the items shown in the photo above. We're including the Book of Mormon (holy scripture comparable to the Bible) and a hand stamped bookmark...a special gift from our hearts, along with Project Life by Stampin' Up! products.

The Let's Get Away collection is bright, fun, and easy to use! The Douglass family went to Mexico over the holidays, and everyone created their own album using these products. I watched as each worked for hours to capture memories made with their family and to make their album personal. I hope you'll enjoy this gift too!

Sterling and I would also like to send a copy of the Book of Mormon and a hand stamped bookmark to anyone who wishes to receive them, whether you played the guessing game or not. Please click here if you'd like this special gift.

Oh, and by the way, we've been asked to go to the MTC on March 2nd instead of the 23rd, so if I post less frequently, you'll know why; we're just a little busy trying to accomplish in two weeks a portion of what we planned to do in five weeks! Yikes!

And finally, I've heard there has been some concern that I might be retiring. In case there is ANY question, I am not retiring! Sterling and I are taking a leave for approximately a year. We plan to return to our usual lives...with just a little more diverse experience.

Thanks for being part of our lives and the fun and chaos that goes with it!

Our Anniversary

Yesterday was our anniversary…35 years! We thought about spending our day together on a nice, long horse ride, but instead decided to check off one of our chores and go missionary shopping. Hours later, and two suits, six washable ties, slip on shoes, etc. (for Sterling), a skirt, two jackets, several blouses, and a couple pair of flats, etc. (for me), we called it a day. 

Although Sterling was a good sport, he texted Sage, “We’ve been shopping ALL day.” I told him it could have been much worse! Sterling didn’t feel like we accomplished a lot, but I informed him that while I don’t enjoy shopping like I used to, I still know how, and what we achieved in one afternoon was incredible! Besides, our shopping spree was bookended with lunch at Nordstrom and dinner at Tsunami (two of our favorite restaurants)…a productive and pleasant anniversary!

As you can see, our focus is beginning to shift toward the mission. And you might be interested to know that our Leadership 2015 keynote speaker, Jason Wright, asked if he could interview Sterling and me and write an article about our choice to serve a mission. Jason’s work appeared today in three different places, with slight tweaks in each article…deseretnews.com, ldsliving.com, and jasonfwright.com.

A LOVEly Day!

I wanted to share these cute projects...not that you can copy them for this year, but maybe they'll inspire you for an upcoming gift idea. The belly bands (above) wrapped gifts for Sterling and our girls, and the treat boxes (below) were filled with a variety of small candies for the boys, our grandsons, and our granddaughters.

We had a nice day today. Sterling and I started cleaning out our garage...one of many things on our checklist before we leave for Hawaii.

I hope you've had a LOVEly day too!

THE Letter Arrived!

THE letter arrived this afternoon, and as excited (and nervous) as we were, we waited patiently (well, as patiently as possible!) for our family to arrive for the opening of the long-awaited letter containing the news of our mission call. Watch the video below to see where we're going!

We report to the Provo Missionary Training Center on Monday, March 23, 2015. We've been called to serve for 12 months.

Now that we know where we're going, we'll be in touch with the winners and let you know who they are...soon!

Hugs and Kisses

Sara and I spent most of the afternoon walking around Stampin’ Up!, handing out hugs and kisses (the chocolate kind, of course!) and chatting with employees. We enjoyed sharing this long-standing tradition, especially with our new employees who were caught off guard when we approached them!

We only wish we could have wiggled our noses and magically made our way to all of our other locations to give warm Valentine’s wishes. Instead, each office will receive a handwritten card and a bag of hugs and kisses to share.

We love this tradition and we love the people we work with!

Almost, But Not Quite

We were notified today that our mission call has been assigned, so that means we should be receiving news in the mail this week. If you haven't posted your guess and want to weigh in, go to Sara's February 3rd post (below) and click on the link to fill out the simple survey. You'll want to do it ASAP! We're excited to finally find out, and we'll let you know soon!

Memorable Bridegan Visit

Shanna and Jared and the twins drove to Orlando on the last day of Leadership to see family members who were working the event. They also planned to stay and visit with Sterling and I for a few extra days.

When they arrived at the convention center, we were so excited to see them that I didn't even think to ask someone to take photos of our greetings. Duh! I'm still mourning that I don't have it on film. (I know this is a long shot, but if anyone happened to get a photo or video...no matter how blurry...please let me know. It would mean so much!) 

It was the sweetest thing to hear the twins call out our names and give us the biggest hugs! I hope I'll always remember how that felt!  Sean, Sara, Nate, Sterling, and I chased after and played with Liam and Abigail to get their wiggles out, and we enjoyed our time with Shanna and Jared as well.

As it happened, Liam got sick and Abigail was close behind, so Sterling and I ended up renting a car on Sunday morning and followed the Bridegans home to Jacksonville.  We spent a couple of days cuddling with fevered little ones and visiting with their parents. Again, no photos...grrr!

Our Stampin' Up! photographers were able to capture a few family photos outside the convention center for the upcoming catalog, so I'm sharing a snapshot of that. At least it will help me remember the beginning of a memorable visit with the Bridegan family.

Where will Sterling and Shelli serve?

Hi everyone! This is Sara. I’ve taken over Mom’s blog today because I had a fun idea.

Have you heard the exciting news? Hopefully you’ve read Mom’s previous post about getting ready to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The letter with their call could come any day and they could be assigned ANYWHERE in the world. I thought you, our friends and family, might want to get in on the excitement and try and guess where they will be serving.

So pull out your world map and let the guessing begin!

If you want to participate, just fill out this quick survey to enter your guess. Who knows? If you make the best guess, I might send you a little something!

FYI: This is just a little something fun from the Gardner family and not directly sponsored by Stampin’ Up!

The Last Leadership

The last Leadership as we know it boasted 1600…more attendees than we’ve seen in several years. And it was a great gathering of demonstrators from around the world! 

Details about the new compensation plan were given in a general session and in breakouts, and the announcement of events becoming more global and in conjunction with product releases were the two main themes of the conference.

There was well-deserved recognition, lots of stamping, and a variety of classes to choose from. Managers’ Reception on Disney property was a ton of fun, and visiting with demonstrators for an entire evening was a highlight for me.

We also enjoyed a fabulous keynote speaker who really spoke to our hearts. I thought it was the perfect way to spend an entire general session, talking about the value of creativity and a handwritten message.

I’m grateful for everyone who made the effort to attend and for those who presented and participated in any way. Nothing can compare to gathering together with people you care about!