Tuesday Devon spent most of the day moving missionaries into a new apartment in Kaneohe. We all know that is his favorite thing to do. Actually, the missionaries do most of the moving, but he has to deliver the beds, furniture, household necessities. That mean we spent Monday evening shopping for those supplies. We try to be very frugal, but it's still expensive.
Tuesday evening we had a special treat. Some old friends, Bob and Helen Brewer, were in Honolulu and we met up for dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. Helen was Devon's secretary many, years ago. We have kept in touch all these years and cherish their friendship.
We told them it was Devon's birthday celebration and he was treated to this sweet sundae.
Thursday evening was the Christmas dinner at our apartment building. It was free for all residents, so we went. They had Panda Express catering, a musician playing his guitar, and a talented man making balloon things for the kids. This is an example of some of his work...pretty amazing. It was a nice evening.
We have received our first Christmas presents. Brad and Jenna sent them with instruction to open them early and enjoy them during the season...so that is what we did.
I stayed home Friday morning to work on the move. Friday evening we went to dinner with the Overduyns. Sometimes we go to some pretty fancy restaurants, but this Friday we decided to try out Bob's BBQ. We've heard from the missionaries how good it was, so why not?! It's a little corner shak that had a pretty diverse menu. It wasn't bad...not great, but the price was good and we had a great time with the Overduyns.
Saturday was crazy busy - no sleeping in. We cleaned the apartment and then went to the office to prepare lunch for Missionary Leadership Conference (MLC). We have this every month, but never on Saturday. This time was different as Elder LeGrand Curtis was here for a Mission Tour. The lunch went well and we enjoyed meeting Elder Curtis. I came home for a short nap while Devon worked on getting my new office computer operational. Then at 5:00 pm we participated in the Manoa Valley Christmas Parade. Our ward, Manoa Ward, always marches in the parade and asks that all the missionaries from our zone walk with them, so we did. The whole route was 1.2 miles through a quiet neighborhood. I think more people were in the parade than were watching. Still, it was fun. We passed out candy and fliers advertising the Christmas Concert at the Tabernacle next weekend. Besides, the missionaries are my favorite people to spend time with.
Left to right: Elder Johnson, Elder Durant, Sister Lybbert, Sister Smith, Elder Orihuela, Elder Schmidt, Eddie Lim (YM from our ward), Elder Jensen, Elder Eborn, Elder Tufts, Elder Kempe, Elder Ashby. Aren't they beautiful!!!!
Our missionaries with the banner.
After the parade we went to a dinner honoring the Overduyns. They are leaving in two weeks. I feel quite sorry for them. It's so hard to say good bye, and having to do it over and over again for weeks makes it even harder. Anyway, the dinner was lovely. It was with some single senior sisters in their ward. I was glad to be there and get to express my love and appreciation for the Overduyns. We will miss them
Sunday was another beautiful day - this time with sunshine. Most of our week has been cloudy and rainy. When someone moves out of the ward the whole congregation stands after the closing prayer and sings "Aloha 'Oe". It's a wonderful Hawaiian tradition of expressing love for the people leaving. It was my first time playing the organ for this and I was so relieved it turned out well.
I've been feeling a little blue about Christmas. It is hard to be away from family and it just doesn't feel much like Christmas for many reasons. I feel like it's happening, but I'm missing it. I have been especially missing my Christmas music. I don't have any of my Christmas CDs with me on any of our devices. I could go without a lot, but to be without my music is hard. To top it off, Saturday was our annual Onstott Family Christmas Party at home. Our family was in charge. I knew what our wonderful children (especially Lori) had planned and was feeling blue about missing it. I walked by the mail boxes on Saturday and Mel, our cute mailman, was busy filling all the boxes. He saw me and call for me. "Sister Tufts! I have something for you!" He stepped over to our box and pulled out a small package from Emily addressed to "Mama." I looked the package over and over on my way up to our apartment wondering what on earth she had sent me.
To my great surprise and delight, inside was a small iPod with most of my Christmas music, and the most wonderful note telling me I was loved! My heart swelled and my eyes overflowed. Nothing could have brought me more joy. Christmas is here! The people I love most are close in spirit and through technology. Their love and support keeps me going. I am truly blessed!