A Room with a View

We’ve been here in Hawaii for almost three weeks, and we’re finally feeling a little settled...settled enough to go to yoga this morning. Yay! Our one-bedroom apartment is feeling more like home, and we’re into a semi-routine.

This is our view from our front door. Yes, we’re in an apartment on the 29th floor. The couple we replaced, and that also lived here, warned us that while the view is beautiful, the noise isn’t. We’re in between two hospitals, so the sirens are frequent, and the freeway is nearby, so there’s always a hum of traffic. But we love the view...or views!

One of the benefits of being so high is that there are no birds or bugs, so we can leave our windows and the door onto the lanai open all the time. There is always a breeze...a must because we have no air conditioning or heating. Funny thing? When it’s been chilly and we’ve closed everything up, there’s still a breeze (and a whistle). We’re learning to sleep through all sorts of noises!

Here are the views from our little lanai.

Finally, here’s the view off the elevators.

Every day our views are different, depending on the weather…and always gorgeous!

Because we’re feeling settled doesn’t mean we’re competent in our responsibilities yet, but each day we feel a little less overwhelmed and more confident in our roles in the mission office.  More on that another day…

Birthday Trio

When we haven't been busy learning our new responsiblities or getting settled into our apartment, I've been trying to catch up on birthdays. I'm embarrassed to say that I've never been so far behind! Here are the three latest birthday cards for the most recent employee birthdays. Hopefully people will still feel celebrated...even if it's been months since their special day!

Our Baby's Birthday

I’ve been thinking about our baby today. Shanna’s the youngest of our five girls, and it’s her birthday, so that's the reason. Actually, I’ve thought a lot about her since we’ve been on our mission.

I remember when she went on her mission to Madrid, Spain. As a mother, I tried to understand what it felt like to learn a new language, to live away from home, family, and friends, to live with different companions…well, to do hard things.

I’ve tried to compare some of what we’re experiencing to what she may have experienced, and there is no comparison! My heart is filled with gratitude for her example of strength, determination, and testimony. I admire her even more than I already did and feel blessed to be her mom.

I thought I’d share with you the gift box we sent her for her birthday. Maybe it will inspire your own creation.

Happy birthday, Baby!

Two Old Dogs

We arrived on Monday afternoon with little sleep from the night before, toured the mission office, had a lovely meal with our mission president and his wife, grabbed a few things from the store, and fell into bed exhausted.

The rest of the week was spent catching up and getting settled, along with training from the couple we’re replacing in the mission office (below). Our heads were usually mush by the end of the day from trying to learn our new tasks and responsibilities. It puts a whole new meaning to the common adage, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks!”

Today we were grateful to attend our ward and meet such warm and friendly people. We’re also glad to rest from the stress of the week.

Best wishes to all for a wonderful week ahead! Please pray for the “old dogs” as we move forward (without trainers) in faith.


Group Hug


After a busy day speaking at church and finishing last-minute projects, our family (all except the Bridegans, of course) showed up with traditional Hawaiian fare, delicious sides, and two desserts for our farewell dinner. It was nice not to worry about a thing...except pack and get ready to leave for a year!

After dinner, Jason taught all of us how to "hang" Hawaiian style, and Jon snapped a couple of group hug shots with the help of the self timer. I'm counting on this special group hug to tide us over for the next twelve months until we're together again!

We'll miss our entire family, but we know we're doing the right thing. And we also know they'll be praying for us (and us for them!) and holding down the fort while we're gone. We wouldn't be able to serve on a mission without their love and support!

Love and lots of hugs to our wonderful family!

Sterling's Birthday

We’re taking every opportunity we can to be with family. Today’s opportunity was Sterling’s birthday dinner at a local pizza place where we snapped a photo of Sterling with all the grandkids who live in Utah.

After an intense (and very good) day at the Mission Training Center, it was nice to take a deep breath and relax, enjoy pizza and visiting together, and give lots of hugs and kisses!

Among several things appropriate and needful for the mission, Sterling received a tie clip that fit just perfectly in this gift box.

Happy birthday to my sweetheart!


Celebrating Paul's Life

After a light snowfall early in the morning and heavy rain mid-morning, everyone was prepared for a wet graveside service honoring Grandpa Paul, so it was a pleasant surprise when the sun’s rays peeked through the clouds, and the only evidence of a storm was the thunder that clapped around the red cliffs of Kanab.

Because we expected to be standing out in a storm, we decided to dress warm and casual…something Grandpa would’ve enjoyed. In fact, many of us wore plaid flannel shirts in honor of Paul!

Paul requested a simple family service with Sterling to dedicate the grave, which he did beautifully. Veterans from the American Legion Post 69 performed the three rifle volleys, and the reverent ceremony was so powerful and humbling.

Afterward, we gathered for a family photo and went to Stampin’ Up! for lunch and reminiscing…just the way Paul would’ve wanted it! Later in the afternoon, everyone enjoyed a walk down memory lane as we spent time in Mom’s and Paul’s home and yard, reminiscing about and admiring the warm and comfortable home they created together.

I believe their spirits were there to feel our love and admiration for them. It was a nice way to end a beautiful day of celebrating Paul’s life!