Welcome to my blog!

I invite you to share your thoughts, but I do ask you to keep your comments appropriate. I won't feel badly about removing comments that are offensive. That doesn't mean you can't be honest—I want honest feedback—but I also like to fill my life with positive people and positive things. I guess that means if you have to say something negative, say it nicely! :-)

More than anything, I want you to leave here feeling inspired and valued—and like we've had a fun chat!

 

Monday
Aug252014

Gardner Grand 2014

Time for another Gardner Grand. .  . I look forward to these weekends with our grandchildren so much

This year we welcomed three newbies—Shelby, Ashton, and Kona. One of my favorite parts of this weekend was watching the older kids take care of, encourage, and love their younger cousins. It’s sweet to see the relationships that our grandchildren share together. . .

We started the weekend by picking up all the kids on Friday afternoon and heading to dinner. I planned on taking a photo or two, but I ended up spending my time visiting with and keeping track of 10 grandchildren. That’s a lot!  

We left the restaurant and headed up to the cabin. In past years, one of the more stressful parts of the weekend was deciding who would ride with Grandma and who would ride with Grandpa. So this year, I took six and Sterling took four, and before we headed off, we drew riding assignments—I loved that it eliminated the stress and hurt feelings and became just a random selection. Plus it gave the kids a chance to ride with different cousins.

On Friday night we changed into jammies and then started on our service project; this year’s project is boondoggle keychains. A couple of years ago, Sterling and I went on a service project with a group to provide dental work for teens in need in Central America. We were planning on going again this year, but my doctor told me a couple of weeks ago that that was out of the question. Although I was extremely disappointed, we decided to get involved in another way—by starting these keychains, which gives the teenagers something to do while they wait in line. There is a lot of waiting, waiting for paperwork, waiting for x-rays, waiting for fillings. . . waiting for pretty much whatever work they need done. So we are starting 800 keychains between now and November, and the grandchildren helped us start the project. We got about 100 done . . . not too shabby!

None of us have ever done boondoggles before, so we spent a lot of the time trying to figure out what we were doing. We watched some You Tube videos, and eventually figured it out. Everyone participated in some way, and it was a great way to end the night.

Saturday we got up and rode the Heber Creeper (a historic train that carries passengers up and down the Provo Canyon), had lunch, and then rafted down the Provo River—we had lots of fun.

The weather was gray and overcast (there was actually snow in the mountains that morning), so the raft trip was a little chilly, but it didn’t stop a few of the kids from getting out and getting wet.

In a few places, they had to get out because the water level was so low that we high-centered! But we thoroughly enjoyed the day’s activities.

Saturday afternoon we just hung out, playing games, four-wheeling, and relaxing. That night, we watched a movie (and kept working on those boondoggles!).

On Sunday morning, we headed to downtown Salt Lake City to Music and the Spoken Word with the Tabernacle Choir—I love that Sunday morning tradition! We ended at our house, where we had lunch and scrapbooked the weekend with Project Life. Each of the kids journaled on at least one of the cards, and we organized photos and accent cards. I’m excited to have an album of our Gardner Grand weekend for the kids to look through, and I love how easy and quick it comes together with Project Life!

So, another Gardner Grand come and gone—way too quickly! I love spending time with these kids and am so grateful for them—and the blessing we have to live close enough to most of our grandchildren that we can see them as often as we do!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday
Aug222014

ALS Challenge Accepted

I’m sure most of you are familiar with the ALS ice bucket challenge that is sweeping social media. . . I became aware of it recently because, yes, Sara and I were challenged.

I didn’t have to think twice about participating. I know there are many who suffer from this disease with courage, but we accepted this challenge for Susy Miller.

Susy has been a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator for years, and I have watched her battle ALS with grace, dignity, and humor. ALS is cruel and debilitating, and it’s heartbreaking to watch people whom you know and love have to deal with it. Susie is an extraordinary woman, and Sara and I are proud to participate in the ALS ice bucket challenge for Susie!

 

 

Tuesday
Aug192014

Riverton 2014 Summer BBQ

We had our annual summer BBQ today in Riverton; we’ll be having our Kanab BBQ next week. It was phenomenal for several reasons. To start off, we used a new catering company, and while the company we’ve used in the past has been great, the food today was excellent. Everyone loved it!

And, although we called it a summer BBQ, it didn’t feel much like summer—Riverton was rainy and overcast today. Thankfully those who planned the event were inspired or something. . . while we had the traditional volleyball competition planned, they had added indoor activities this year. A Bingo game was going on in one of our larger training rooms, and there was a pretty constant line at the photo booth, where people lined up with friends to take photos with funny faces and fun props.

We topped off the event with our Heart of Stampin’ Up! award. We have four Heart of Stampin’ Up! awards from our Riverton office, and one to be announced next week in Kanab. As I was reading the Heart of Stampin’ Up! nominations, I was reminded what a great group of people we have at Stampin’ Up!  It was heartwarming to see employees who admire and love the people they work with. So many people shared touching, wonderful stories about their coworkers. Some were simple, some were significant, and all the stories were profound because they exemplified people who are committed to loving what they do and doing their best at it and caring for those around them.

Congratulations to all who were nominated (as well as the many who weren’t but were definitely deserving of a nomination), as well as the four who were recognized in Riverton: Julie Gandy, Aaron Westerman, Derek Christensen, and Traci Clark (her photo is missing because she was out sick today. . .darn!).

I work with amazing people. . . that’s all I can say! And I’m grateful that we have an opportunity on occasion to sit back, relax, and have fun with each other.

Saturday
Aug162014

Friday Date Night

Sterling and I had a tender date night experience last night. We had heard about Friday’s Kids, a nonprofit organization in Utah County that provides respite for parents of children with disabilities. We have been looking for opportunities to become involved in service, and this group seemed like it might offer the perfect chance; we were especially interested in something that we could be involved in with our grandchildren.

So we went last night for the first time. . . we went alone this time because we wanted to check out ourselves before bringing the grandchildren.

What an amazing experience. Like I said, the group offers a place for parents of children with disabilities to bring their children while they have an evening free to go and do whatever they need or want to do. They drop their children off at 6 and then pick them up by 9:30. You could see as some of these parents dropped of their children how much this evening meant to them. For some of them, I imagine it’s the only break they have from the heavy responsibilities they shoulder as they care for these special children.

The children are watched by volunteers, and trained medical staff and personnel are also onsite. Last night, Sterling and I got to play with a little boy. I’m not sure exactly what his disabilities are, and we didn’t exactly play. He spent pretty much the entire time in a ball pit, just throwing balls to Sterling, who caught the balls and threw them back.

We enjoyed the experience and will definitely return, likely with a couple of grandchildren accompanying us. They allow teenagers to volunteer, if they come with an adult, so we think this is the perfect chance to help our grandkids get involved in service, while also spending some invaluable time with us.

 

 

Thursday
Aug142014

Creative Challenge—It’s About Time!

As I was thinking today about what I might post, I realized that it had been a LONG time since I’d done a creative challenge. It’s definitely the perfect time to change that! Two catalogs have come out in the past few months, and I know we’ve all got lots of great ideas floating around in our heads.

So. . . . Creative Challenge 2014—create any project using any of the new products from the annual or holiday/autumn catalog. I’ll give you until September 15. Winning entries will receive a free stamp set of your choice. . . there are so many to choose from!

Happy stampin’!