Welcome to my personal blog!

Just as I share some of my personal thoughts and views, I invite you to share yours. All I ask is that you 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 like to fill my life with positive people and positive things. I guess that means that 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 nice visit!



The 4th...a Little Late

Although it’s been a few days, I want to share a little about our 4th!

We joined with a few other senior missionary couples, along with our mission president and his wife (and a visiting daughter and her family), for a barbeque and to watch fireworks on the deck of the USS Missouri.

We missed our usual traditions with family, but we enjoyed listening to the children around us gasp as the fireworks lit up the sky, especially the star-shaped and smiley face ones. It was a beautiful evening and a once-in-a-lifetime experience with missionary friends and family.


Special Kids

We had the opportunity to spend time with some special kids at Shriners Hospital for Children this week at a 4th of July celebration. One of the single adults at our church works at and plans activities at Shriners, and she asked if some of us would come and help with the barbeque and play with the kids.

The event began with a wheelchair parade…each decorated with red, white, and blue crepe paper and signs. While waiting for dinner, we visited with kids from Samoa and Fiji who had been there anywhere from two months to ten months. They were delighted to find out that we’d been to Fiji! Sterling also showed them photos of me after my accident and in a wheelchair, which I think helped them feel comfortable around us.

After dinner we played cards and a couple games of pool. The kids were happy, positive, and grateful, which reminded us to count our blessings. Some of them didn’t want us to leave, so we promised to come back often. Next time we’ll bring some stamping supplies too!

Note: Although we took photos with a few of these special kids for our album, Shriners policy naturally doesn’t allow photos to be posted online.


Another Birthday Box

When you have over two-dozen family members, you give away lots of birthday boxes in a year. A grandson and a son-in-law both had birthdays recently, so here are their birthday boxes.

I can’t believe Seth is already fifteen. I remember the day he was born, and now he’s taller than his mom!

Jason has his pilot’s license and loves to fly every chance he gets, so the paper airplane attached to his box may not be as cool as the real deal, but it’s kind of fun anyway.


European Incentive Trip 2015

Hi! This is Sara again.

I just arrived home from our European incentive trip in Madeira, Portugal. I’m embarrassed to say that when I learned where we were going, I had to look it up on the Internet. I wasn’t even sure where the island was located or in what country! But this destination did not disappoint, and being there with our top achievers in Europe added even more to the experience! 

My friend Nicki and I arrived Monday evening, grabbed a bite to eat, and got settled into our room. The view was breathtaking from our little deck, as were all of the views around the island. Most demonstrators arrived Wednesday during the day, and in the evening we had a lovely dinner out on the terrace of the hotel with views of the ocean and the city of Funchal. 

The following day a lot of us spent the morning going on tours to different parts of the island. I was part of the group that rode the gondola up the mountain, where we saw a beautiful garden and stunning views. Because Madeira is a volcanic island, there are no traditional sandy beaches, and the seaside cliffs are spectacular because the elevation varies greatly from the seaside to the mountains. They say that in Madeira, it’s possible to experience all four seasons in one day!

My favorite part of the tour was the Funchal toboggan ride. We got into sleigh-like baskets and literally sledded down the narrow streets of the city. It was SO much fun!

That evening was the swap event. And let me tell you, these ladies know how to stamp! Their swaps were amazing, and it was fun to see each demonstrator sharing, smiling, and enjoying the time together. It was a reminder of the love we all share for stamping---no matter where we’re from!

Friday morning the events staff had planned a catamaran tour and lunch. The weather was wonderful and I was amazed by all of the dolphins we saw while we were out. After watching the dolphins, we proceeded up the coast to see more of the ocean. The views were great, but my favorite part was laughing and talking with some of the demonstrators out in the open catamaran nets. We laughed about some of the idioms each culture uses and how confusing it can be to translate from one language to the other. Lunch was traditional Portuguese fare; we ate and visited with the harbor in view. 

The farewell dinner Saturday evening was the perfect way to officially close the event, with a bus ride to a local village and a family-style dinner at a beautiful restaurant. Afterwards we returned to the hotel and watched fireworks from the top floor!

I have to say, I REALLY wish I could speak more languages. It would be so awesome to be able to talk to these amazing demonstrators in their own languages! A lot of them speak English pretty well, but for those who don’t, I hope I was able to convey our love and appreciation for all that they are and all that they do to make Stampin’ Up! such an amazing company. Hugs to all of our European demonstrators . . . and we’ll see you in November!



Happy Father's Day

We celebrate mothers in May, but somehow June rolls around and fathers are so often overlooked or forgotten. When I think about the different men who have influenced (and continue to influence) my life, my gratitude for fathers is immense.

Of course, my first thoughts are of my father, Lynn. He's a wonderful man with positive energy and a happy heart. This photo is of my dad and I at a daddy-daughter luau when I was about 10 years old. Dad always made me feel special and still does.

Sterling, my sweetheart and the father of our children, is my best friend. He's a thoughtful, wise, and generous man. It’s been especially nice to spend nearly every waking hour with him while on our mission, and I’m so grateful for his love and support during our 35 years of marriage.

And then there are my stepdads, Paul and Bill, and the fathers of our grandchildren, and…well the list of men whom I am grateful for and honor today is lengthy.

I hope the men in our lives feel loved and honored today and every day.

As a side note, our gift to our sons-in-law was money to spend as they wish—in this gift card enclosure…a great “manly” idea for any occasion!