Exciting News

In case you haven’t heard, I made an exciting announcement this morning at Leadership 2015…news worth blogging about even in the middle of a big event! 

Sterling and I are planning to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We haven’t received our call yet, so we don’t know when we’ll be leaving, where we’ll be called to serve, or when we’ll return. We’ve committed to serve for up to twelve months, but it could be that we’re asked to serve a six-month mission. We’ll just have to wait and see.

When we return, life will resume as usual. I intend to return to work because I love what I do and love the people I work with. We’re looking at a mission kind of like a sabbatical. While I won’t be involved as much in the day-to-day business of Stampin’ Up! during our mission, I will be in touch through weekly updates from Sara and Rich, and I will still blog as much as possible.

I think this goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, in case you’re wondering. I would not be going on a mission if I didn’t have complete confidence in the people I work with. In fact, we feel we’re able to go because we’re so blessed to work with such amazing people!

If you want to know more about senior missionaries (which is what Sterling and I are!) and some of the things they’re called to do, click here www.lds.org/callings/missionary/senior?lang=eng.

This has been a goal of ours for years, and we’re thrilled to serve the Lord in a more focused way. I’ll let you know the details of our call when we receive it…hopefully in the next week!



Love Tags

I’m in Florida getting ready for Leadership 2015, and even though I'm pretty focused on working on my presentations, I keep having this nagging thought that I haven't shared these love tags with you (been meaning to for days). So I'm sharing them now, hoping I can let the thought go and get back to work! Enjoy!

Gratitude Today

Sterling and I enjoyed the view of a stunning sunrise on the mountains this morning as we drove to Park City to listen to friends speak at church before leaving for the next year-and-a-half to serve in Jerusalem. The theme for their talks was gratitude, which caused me to reflect on my many blessings and how grateful I am for them…too many to count!

Of my many blessings, I count friends as most precious. And a bonus this morning was the opportunity for us to visit with several dear friends, coworkers, and mentors we seldom see, who also went to support the Smiths. It was a small and happy reunion on a beautiful, balmy 38-degree day.

On the way home, we visited with a special coworker, David, who is recovering from a recent snow skiing accident. When we walked into his room at the rehabilitation center, he excitedly jumped out of his wheelchair to show us how he could walk on his own with a walker. It tickled me to see the progress he’s making, and it did my heart good just to spend a few minutes with him.

I love days like today when the sun shines bright, the distractions are few, and I’m able to contemplate my blessings more thoroughly. Today I am most thankful for good friends.

What are you most thankful for today?  

Girls' Afternoon

A friend was in town this week helping her daughter after the birth of her third child. We don’t have the chance to visit often, and I haven’t seen her in months. Although I hoped we’d find a time when we could catch up, I know how exhausting that first week with a newborn can be, so my expectation wasn’t too high.

When she told me she’d promised to take her granddaughter to the Museum of Natural Curiosity, I quickly called Shalae to see if Phoebe would like to go on a date with me. If we both took our granddaughters, they could play together while we visited. Genius!

We met for a healthy lunch at Fraiche and then enjoyed a few hours at the museum, watching the girls play and explore while we visited about everything under the sun! It was a cold overcast day, but it was the perfect way to spend an afternoon with Phoebe and a dear friend and her granddaughter. 

Groovy Love

I don't have any events scheduled for this month, but I promised I'd share projects each month that focused on a stamp set. So, although I should have posted these at the end of December or the beginning of January, I completely forgot.

Lucky for me, hearts are always in season...for love notes, birthdays, and memory keeping...just about anything! Check out the flower made out of punched hearts (the box belly band).

I hope you enjoy these fun samples made with Groovy Love!

This Week's Miracle

Last month my step-dad, Paul, shared that he was having difficulty breathing, walking, and reading. Keep in mind that this is a man who walks many miles a day and reads more than anyone I know!

After several doctors' appointments and numerous tests, it appeared he had two tumors in his brain, which were believed to be malignant. The plan was to operate this week on one of the tumors to determine what kind of cancer it was.

In the meantime, we checked on Paul over the phone and through texts several times a day. My sisters (who live near him) dropped in on him, took meals to him, and invited him over for dinner. And between my siblings and I, along with his son, we gladly arranged to take Paul to his appointments and to be with him through surgery and recovery. That's what family does, especially when we need it most, right?

Paul was admitted to the hospital early Tuesday, but because his blood pressure was so high, he went to the ICU instead, and his surgery was postponed.

Sterling and I have been the lucky ones to be with Paul the last few days while he waited for and had surgery. He is such a positive patient and is so kind (and funny) with all the staff. It's been a sweet experience and privilege to serve Paul as well as take notes to inform everyone else of his progress.

To make a long story a little shorter, last night, when the doctor came out after Paul's surgery, we were surprised and pleased (as was the doctor) to find out that Paul has a cavernous malformation. Simply put, there was old blood in this "tumor" (likely from a fairly recent smaller stroke). The doctors believe the other mass is the same thing. They will monitor him closely, but basically he will be released tomorrow and recover in the comfort of his own home.

Our family feels so grateful for this miracle in our lives. We know that Heavenly Father always listens to our prayers. He may not answer them when or how we like, but this time He made a lot of family, especially "the little people and their little people" (that's what Paul calls his grandchildren and great-grandchildren) very happy! We are all so relieved and feeling extremely blessed.

We love you, Paul!

Cooper's Special Day

Cooper was baptized and confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today. Jon performed both ordinances beautifully.

When I asked Cooper what made this day so special and what he will remember most, he said, “I felt the Spirit.” He was teary-eyed and so happy when he was given the gift of the Holy Ghost. As the speakers delivered their messages, they spoke directly to Cooper, calling him by name, and he shook his head up and down as he listened intently. It was a sweet occasion!

Afterwards, family from both sides gathered for lunch, including cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. It was a wonderful way to spend time together and celebrate Cooper’s choice to follow Christ!

What About You?

It’s a new year and time for new goals!

I have a new way of setting goals for myself. First, I write them down (usually they’re pretty lofty and maybe a little unrealistic), knowing I will do my best to achieve them, but if any of the goals needs to be modified along the way, I will allow myself to make a change.

In contrast, my old way was to set lofty goals and then feel less about myself when I fell short. Eventually I would give up or wait for a better time to start over. It might seem silly, but just that simple mind shift made all the difference for me.

For example, a year ago I made the goal to attend the temple once a week or 52 times during the year. I quickly recognized that when I traveled, it was impossible to meet my goal unless I doubled up and served twice in the weeks I didn’t travel. I was discouraged and overwhelmed until I realized this was a personal goal and I could modify it. I decided to modify my goal to attend each week I was home. It was still a challenge (I think I missed two weeks), but striving to accomplish my goal was so much more enjoyable for me, and I was more successful in keeping that goal.

One of my goals this year is to enjoy two bites of sweets a day…no more and probably no less! (Hmmm…what's considered a bite? Just kidding!) I’m discovering that sugar affects me more than all the other factors associated with my RA, and I don’t want to hurt as much. Almost everything we eat as a society has sugar in it, so I’ll continue to be conscious about what I eat overall, but this challenging goal will be a good start for me.

What about you? Many of you have told me that you read my blog and don’t comment. I’m okay with that because my blog is more for me than for anyone else, but I’m hoping you’ll step out of your comfort zone and tell me one of your goals. Pretty please!

I would love to know just one of your new year’s resolutions. Be brave. Put it out there. Then, if you need to modify your goal along the way, do it! I give you permission (smile)!

Best wishes for a wonderful 2015!