Late-Breaking News

I just posted the "A Night to Remember," but I've got something to add--Sterling passed the kidney stone! Woo hoo! Now he thinks he might even be able to eat (and keep down) some real food! 

I guess we should be grateful that it only took less than a day. We've heard stories of some people taking days to pass kidney stones, so it could have been so much worse. We'll sleep good tonight!

A Night to Remember

Sterling and I went to bed last night about midnight, planning on a decent night’s sleep. Didn’t happen.

Sterling woke me up (unintentionally) about 3 a.m. this morning. He was curled up in bed, clearly in pain.

Initially, we thought he was just having stomach or intestinal cramps, but the pain intensified. He could hardly move, but he finally made it to the bathroom. Once there, he didn’t know which end he should take care of first, and he finally just laid down on the floor, writhing in pain.

I felt helpless. I had no idea what to do. I took my laptop in there, desperately searching for some kind of information that would help. (Like the Internet is the best place to go for credible medical advise—I know, I know.)

Finally, we decided we had better head to the hospital. Sara and Sean and their kids are staying with us for a few days, and so I went to wake them up and tell them what was happening. Sean asked Sterling where the pain was, and almost instantly said, “Dude, you’ve got kidney stones.”

He made the diagnosis from his own experience—he’d had his own run-in with kidney stones less than two months ago. He started having sympathy pains just thinking about it, and so I figured I’d better get Sterling out of there as quickly as I could.

Sterling and I spent the better part of this morning in the hospital, and sure enough, Sean was right—Sterling had kidney stones.

After several hours, they sent us home with a fistful of prescriptions and strict instructions to stay on top of the pain. “Don’t be a hero,” the nurse said firmly. “If you do, I guarantee you’ll be back here!”

The pain is excruciating! I’ve talked to several people who compare it to childbirth, only contractions at least ease up once in awhile! It was sobering to see my sweetheart in such intense pain. There were moments at the hospital where he looked almost dead—pale, lifeless, terrible! It made me realize how grateful I am for him and how much I love him!

I brought him home, and the girls gathered around in deep concern. None of them can remember their daddy ever going to the hospital, or even really being sick. Sterling has always been incredibly healthy, and his tolerance for pain is pretty high, so it was scary for all of us to see him like that.

Needless to say, I’ve set my alarm around the pain meds and I’ve given him explicit instructions—if you have an ounce of pain, you let me know! We do NOT want a repeat of this morning.

Once the meds kicked in, he was feeling much better, and the girls gathered around to give him snuggles before he went to sleep. We’re just hoping that this passes (in more ways than one—smile) as quickly as possible, and that we can have our healthy Sterling back soon!

A Special Family Reunion

We returned last night from our annual Larsen family reunion in southern Utah. This year it was held at Panguitch Lake for the first time.

My sister Leslie planned the reunion months ago. She reserved cabins for some, campground spaces for others, and she and her family intended to stay in their personal cabin nearby. When Leslie and Danny knew they wouldn’t be attending because of Leslie’s cancer, they invited us to stay in their cabin. We arrived on Thursday evening to a warm and very welcoming (newly remodeled) cabin, wishing Leslie and her family were there with us.


Long story short, we enjoyed lots of visiting on Friday, including a potluck dinner that night where the tables were filled—in true Larsen fashion—with more yummy desserts than anything else.


Then, early Saturday afternoon, after all the women and older girls had finished a craft project (magnet boards and coordinating magnets—one made especially for Leslie with notes of love from us girls attached), who should show up unexpectedly? Leslie and Danny!

We were shocked because we thought Leslie was in the hospital, but Danny joked that they’d escaped, and we were thrilled. It was like Christmas in July!


Needless to say, we all gathered around Leslie and listened intently to every word she spoke while it rained off and on and the hours flew by. It was a wonderful visit!

When Leslie and Danny left hours later to stay near a hospital (a must when she’s at this stage in her treatment), we all noticed how much better Leslie looked than when she arrived. One could argue that it was the beautiful scenery or the fresh mountain air. I think it was a little of that and a whole lot of love!

When I think of the fun we had the last few days watching the kids climb trees and run from camp to camp while visiting until late at night surrounding a campfire, the highlight of this reunion will always be the surprise visit from Leslie.

Check Out Our Incentive Stamps

Recently I was asked to provide a small table gift for a fundraising event for Thanksgiving Point, a family-oriented organization that I work with. I decided to give a cello bag with one small stamp and a Stampin’ Spot. (They needed 350, so I had to keep it pretty simple!)

But, of course, I couldn’t just give the bag. It’s all about presentation, you know, so each bag needed a cute tag. I decided to take a look at our incentive stamps for the gift bag and the tag, because you get a lot of the same size stamps (and diverse art) for a very reasonable price.

When I saw all the images we have, I went bananas! I hadn’t really looked at our incentive stamps in awhile.

Ultimately, I went with a pretty simple tag.



But here are some other ideas for tags as well. These were too complicated to reproduce 350 times, but they were too cute not to share.

If you’re like me and haven’t checked out our incentive stamps, you definitely should take a look. As we’re focusing more on the workshop, there are lots of ways you can use these great little stamps to help accomplish your workshop goals! (That sounds like a commercial for incentive stamps, doesn’t it? Smile.)

Also—several of you have asked about sending Leslie a card. I’m sure she would love that! Just send your card to Stampin’ Up! (12907 South 3600 West, Riverton, UT 84065), to my attention, and I’ll be sure to hand-deliver them to Leslie. Thanks so much for thinking of her!

Sad News

This is a blog I didn’t ever want to write! Four years ago, my sister Leslie spent several months battling leukemia, and we were thrilled when the cancer went into remission. She has had blood tests taken regularly ever since, and we were inching closer and closer to that magic five-year mark—until last week. 
She got the news on her birthday—the leukemia is back. We were all devastated, but I’m so proud of Leslie and her example and fighting spirit. She’s at the Huntsman Cancer Hospital in Salt Lake City and has started chemotherapy, and if attitude has anything to do with it, she’ll have this licked in no time!
This past weekend her family has been up here with her, and they’ll be here as much as they can to support and help her. However, because I live closer, I’m planning on being at her beck and call, spending a lot of time with her, just like I did four years ago. And with convention and a family reunion coming up, it’s going to be a busy time—so my posts may be shorter and more infrequent during the next few weeks.
Thank you for understanding, and I ask for your prayers and good thoughts in Leslie’s behalf. If you want to keep tabs on her progress, you can check out Leslie’s web site

Checking Out for a Bit

Just wanted you to know that you probably won’t hear from me for a few days. I’m focusing on creating projects for convention, and I’m a woman with a mission!

I started to get a little frantic last week as I realized how close convention was, so I called Sara up and invited (begged?) her to come down to help out with the creative process. She must have sensed the panic in my voice, because before I knew it, she was at my doorstep. (Well, actually she was landing at the airport—I had to go pick her up.)

Shalae and Mom Pat have also willingly jumped in, and the four of us have shut ourselves in my stamp studio and are busy creating up a storm. Of course, what we’re creating is confidential—for convention only! So I can’t show you any projects YET (I’ll probably sneak in one or two after convention), but I’m excited about the prospect of working with two of my girls and my mom to come up with some fun things to show at convention. And because our time is short, I’m really not doing much else—other than necessary meetings. (sigh)

I’ll check in when they’re gone and—hopefully—my convention projects are all done!

A Evening of Inspiration

Thanksgiving Point is a family-oriented destination (museum, movie theater, shopping, restaurants, and gardens) located a few miles from our home. I’m on the board, and yesterday the Utah Symphony performed for the first time in the Waterfall Amphitheater, a gorgeous outdoor setting.

I have to admit that initially I didn’t want to go. It had been a packed day, full of all kinds of things I needed to get done. When the time came to leave, I didn’t want to—and I probably wouldn’t have if I hadn’t committed to go as a board member and even invited some friends to join us. However, I knew that once I was there, I’d enjoy myself—but I had no idea how much!

I’m not a musician—don’t play an instrument, can’t sing, can’t dance. But I do appreciate good music, and I spent a delightful evening listening to beautiful music in absolutely peaceful surroundings. The theme was Let’s Dance Under the Stars, and the program included selections from Handel’s Water Music, Strauss’ Blue Danube Waltz, and Copland’s Rodeo: Hoe-Down.

A little blonde-haired toddler in front of us spent a lot of the evening weaving in and out between her parents, waving her hands in the air and dancing to the inspiring music. I kept thinking that she was doing exactly what I felt like doing—but knew I was too “grown-up” to do!

Music is one of the things in life that inspires me, and last night was truly an inspiring evening! I’m so glad I went!

The Class of '79


Here’s the senior class high school photo I promised. As I look at it, it brings back mostly good memories. . . (smile)


The reunion was very nice. Like most reunions when you’re going to see people you haven’t seen for awhile, you are a little anxious. I wondered what I should wear—I didn’t want to be too dressy but I didn’t want to be too casual. I wanted to look as young as possible but still look my age (OK, I would love it if I looked a few years younger!). Now that it’s all over, I smile. I worried way too much, but I think most of us do as we anticipate something like that.


About half of the graduating class showed up, which was wonderful! Several people traveled a fair distance; a couple from a state or two away. I was disappointed that there were a handful who are still living in Kanab who didn’t show—it would have been fun to see as many people as possible.


On Friday afternoon, we had a treat in the park that families were invited to. We played a game that involved a hen pooping on a numbered chart (don’t ask!) and spent a lot of time catching up and reminiscing. I recognized most people, although there were a few that I had to ask a classmate for help in identifying. That evening, we got together with spouses/partners at a catered dinner and visited and remembered a little bit more.


After it was over, Sterling assured me that I was the best-looking one there, and I suspect I wasn’t the only one who went home that night with a spouse who was smart enough to make that statement! But it was sweet of him, and I did feel like I looked OK. I enjoyed the stroll through memory lane and appreciate the effort it took to put the reunion together. It will be fun to get together again in another five years!


Family Night Up the Canyon

I couldn’t go to bed tonight without posting about our evening activity. On Sunday, Sterling asked me to keep Wednesday night open for him. He wouldn’t tell me what was up, but I cleared my calendar for tonight.

Yesterday, the secret slipped out—he’d planned a family home evening up in the canyon with the Browns, the Hoops, Grandma Pat, and his famous goulash (a fancy name for whatever we have in the fridge mixed up in a Dutch Oven!).  I looked forward to it all day, working hard to get everything done so I could enjoy the time up the canyon and not be worrying about things still needing to be done.

I was not disappointed! All I can say is it’s an absolute sin that we don’t go up the canyon more often—it’s a 15-minute drive to escape from the world! It was beautiful tonight, perfect weather, ideal company, and Sterling’s goulash (hamburger, bacon, ground beef, carrots, potatoes, squash, onions, and green chilies) was the yummiest ever! He fixed the entire meal, but the girls decided that next time they would help out with dessert and a salad.

While dinner cooked, the little boys hiked (if you can call it that—their little legs didn’t go too far or too fast) and we sat around and chatted.

After dinner, we had an uplifting spiritual discussion, and then for an activity we watched a group of rappellers work their way down a nearby mountain. The boys were fascinated—they’d never seen anyone do that before.

I came home rejuvenated and determined to head back up the canyon again very soon. Don’t worry—I won’t bore you with the details every time we go, but I’m certainly thankful we live so close to such natural beauty. 

Small Town, Big Celebration

If there’s one holiday that people seem to go home for, it’s the Fourth of July! And Kanab is no exception. People flock into town to celebrate the birth of our country.

The Kanab celebration begins with a parade (well, there are other early-morning activities, but we’re lucky to make it to the parade on time).

Stampin’ Up! has had a simple float in the parade ever since I can remember, with employees and their children riding on the float and throwing out Stampin’ Up! taffy to the crowd.


The main feature of the float is usually a larger-than-life patriotic card created with a current set. I love this year’s card—it’s one of my favorites, and we heard a lot of positive comments about it.

The parade seemed hotter this year.  I was sweating bullets by the end, and I was grateful when my stepfather Paul said that from now on, his job would be to get up early in the morning and stake out a spot in the shade!

After the parade we headed over to the city park for the rest of the day. The festivities there are probably similar to ones held around the country: vendors with all kinds of food, drinks, and arts & crafts for sale; games for kids; local entertainment; and lots of visiting.


The park is usually packed most of the day, but by 8 in the evening, you can’t hardly go anywhere without stepping on someone’s blanket. The Dutch Oven BBQ starts at 6, and everyone just sits around, eating, visiting, and enjoying the entertainment.

This year the mayor began the evening by honoring Sterling’s Dad, U.S. Gardner, for his long-time service to the community. The ceremony included unveiling a six-foot, red sandstone monument featuring a plaque with Uke’s picture and a nice tribute mentioning all his community service. I would have taken a picture, but the plaque had Grandpa Great's name spelled wrong, so I'm going to wait until they correct that and then post a photo. 

After this touching honor, the rest of the evening progressed with the entertainment; this year's program was titled "Kanab’s Got Talent," and we watched singers, dancers, and musicians as we waited for the main event—the fireworks!

They kick off at dark and are the perfect ending to a wonderful home-town celebration! I love the Fourth of July in Kanab; I can’t imagine ever missing it!

Prepping, Painting, Stenciling--and Reunioning

I got home late tonight after celebrating the Fourth in Kanab. I’m exhausted, but I thought I’d quickly write about Thursday and Friday, then catch you up on the Fourth tomorrow.

On Wednesday we headed down here to do a little decorating at our manufacturing facility. In our lobby, we have a couple of vignettes that Mom Pat and I work most years. We updated one of them quite quickly, but the second one took a little more time and effort because we had to start from scratch.

On Thursday, we spent most of our time prepping the wall and then painting, and then yesterday we started the main job, which was stenciling. I LOVE stenciling (I think I’ve mentioned that before), and I am excited about featuring that technique this year in our Kanab facility

In between the stenciling, I attended my (gasp!) 30-year-reunion! I can’t believe it’s been that long—I certainly don’t feel that old! We had a lunchtime picnic in the park with families, and then in the evening, the grown-ups got together for dinner with their partners. I’ll talk more about that early next week; I thought it would be fun to share a high school photo, and I don’t have one down here, so I guess that’s something you can look forward to. . .

Anyway, after dinner, I headed back to the stenciling, which Mom Pat and I finally finished! It feels good to have it done. . Jon took lots of pictures, and we’ll have several of them on display at convention.