Congratulations Linda!

Linda Bauwin recently crossed the 1 Million-Dollar Milestone—a goal she hoped to achieve before Onstage. Not only did she meet her goal, she did it almost a month early. She also wanted to be the first “Linda” to be counted among the Million-Dollar Achievers. We’re so proud of her!

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Shanna's Birthday

Has another week really passed? I promise I’ll post more than once a week…once I get caught up a little!

Sterling and I talked about flying to Florida and surprising Shanna for her birthday, but with all that’s been going on since we returned—working on Onstage, visiting Kanab, and just trying to catch up, we opted for a longer visit next week. This little birthday package, containing some birthday cash (along with FaceTime and texting), was the next best thing!

Sweet Sabbath

It’s been an intense week! Between Stampin’ Up! and Brick Canvas, I’ve felt a little (okay, a lot!) overwhelmed since returning home from our mission. I knew it would be hectic, but what I didn’t know was how much I would miss being with Sterling. After spending nearly 24/7 together for an entire year, I was uncomfortable being away from him, and I was grateful to come home to him. Of course he’s been extremely supportive during this reentry week.

This morning we reported on our mission in a couple of church meetings. It was difficult to focus on and talk about only a few things in the time we were given because we have so many experiences we loved and appreciated about our mission. We were especially happy to see people from our mission, along with unexpected family and friends, and it made for a sweet Sabbath.

I’m grateful for the Sabbath and the opportunity to rest and renew, and I’m hoping for a calmer week ahead.

Surprise Homecoming

As I entered the front doors of Stampin’ Up! this morning, for the first time in over a year, I was overwhelmed by the surprise homecoming Sterling and I received! All the Riverton employees were in the atrium, clapping and cheering as we walked in. We had a chance to hug lots of friends, visit, and eat breakfast (homemade granola…yum!) together. It was so great to see everyone! Sara also posted about the warm welcome on www.fb.com/asarathing.

 

Molokai and Many Goodbyes

Our last week in Hawaii was definitely memorable! We, along with several senior couples, flew to beautiful Molokai and toured the historic Kalaupapa in an old rusted school bus.

The members of our little branch planned a backyard farewell potluck that same evening, and the turnout was incredible! The weather was perfect, and everyone was content to just visit the night away. It was our favorite event of the year! We felt so loved.


If that wasn’t enough, on Sunday at church everyone sang Aloha Oe. We sobbed like babies! Then everyone hugged us and put leis around our necks…forty leis in total! Several people said they hoped we could feel their “love” around our necks, and we could!

And even though we begged people to not come to the airport last night, there were a few who insisted and came anyway. After a week of goodbyes and feeling lots of love, we were sad to leave wonderful people behind and excited to be home and see family!

In the Mail...Almost

It’s been years since we sent family greetings, and we thought now was as good a time as any to restore tradition. We knew we wouldn’t have time to send them in the fall, so we prepared to send love notes in February. Well, that was the plan!

Call me old fashioned, but we’ve handwritten the addresses (albeit sloppier than I’d like), and I’ve insisted on writing a short note in each card (Sterling thinks I’m crazy!), but I’m happy to say that the last of them should be in the mail tomorrow.

I’m sharing two cards because I ran out of the first and had to make a simpler card with my limited supplies (almost all my stamps, etc. have been given away). I’m also sharing what was typed on the insert and the photo we included…since I can’t send greetings to all of you. I wish I could…and with a handwritten note in each!

(The formatting is messed up, and I don't have time to mess with it...my apologies!)

Aloha from the Gardners!

It’s been years since we’ve sent greetings, but we look forward to seeing photos of you and your family and hearing about your lives, so we hope an update from us will be appreciated too. We’ve had a memorable experience here in Hawaii while serving as missionaries, and here are some of the blessings of our mission as it comes to a bittersweet end:

  • Working in the Hawaii Honolulu Mission office with

great people

  • Serving with the BEST mission president and his wife
  • Watching the young missionaries grow into men and

women of God

  • Being asked to “hang out” at the YSA branch and

attend institute class

  • Teaching temple preparation class and attending the

Laie Temple often

  • The magical duo of our branch piano player and

chorister

  • Lessons and talks from amazing young people with

strong testimonies

  • Visits from all the members of our family at least once
  • Having dinner with friends and family on vacation

from the mainland

  • Enjoying the relaxed culture and the warmth of the

Polynesian people

  • Elder Holland’s visit to our mission and singing in the

choir that evening

  • Excellent care at Queen’s Hospital during Sterling’s

stay after his stroke

  • The view from our 29th floor city apartment and its

convenient location

  • Practicing yoga at a studio less than ten minutes away

from our apartment

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables, especially apple bananas

and pineapple

  • Beach trips, scenic drives, and hikes around the island
  • Sterling picking fragrant plumeria flowers for my desk

to brighten my day

  • Blue skies, billowy clouds, and beautiful weather

We love our mission, we love the Savior, and we love you, our dear friends and wonderful family.

Hugs from Hawaii,

Elder and Sister Gardner