Monday, December 19, 2016

Week 41 Report

Monday started off with a bang! You know Christmas is here when 150 packages arrived in our office for the missionaries.

It took us all morning to sort them and make forwarding mailing labels. There will be some happy missionaries! The rest of the week was pretty routine Monday through Wednesday. There are always a few hitches that crop up, but that keeps life interesting.

After office hours on Monday, we went shopping for the missionary we are being “Santa” for this Christmas. It was so much fun. I hope she will like and can use the things we bought. I had fun wrapping every present. Wish I could be a fly on the wall when she gets the package.

We were surprised to learn that a couple has been called to replace the Reeders. We were afraid it would be hard to find a sister to be the mission nurse, but looks like the missionary department is way ahead of us. There is a huge shortage of senior couples – only about half the need is actually filled. I think finding people willing to work in the office is even harder. So, we are grateful for this new couple. Reeders are due to be released in April.

We have 5 of our finest missionaries flying home on Friday. It’s between transfers so they can get home and have a few weeks with family before they start school. We are going to miss them. Friday Elder and Sister Shurtz arrived. They are replacing Elder and Sister Overduyn. They will have about 6 days of overlap. I hope that is enough to learn all there is to learn.

Thursday morning we caught a flight to Maui. Devon needed to find a new apartment for a senior couple coming to Maui, and we were given permission to come for our anniversary weekend. Thursday was spent checking out 4 apartments. Two were obvious “no’s” and two were good. Devon liked one better and I liked the other. It was his choice, so he picked the one he liked. Well, the next day we got a call saying it was taken, so Devon had to “settle” for the one I liked. (It really was the best one!)

We are staying at a nice one bedroom, one bathroom condo we reserved through VBRO. It is located in the town of Kihei, across from the beach, and is very nice. The only down side is the weather. It was sunny all morning Thursday, but then the clouds quickly blew in and we had heavy rain all afternoon and evening. Good thing we brought our umbrellas. During a break in the weather we went to the Whale Museum across the road from our condo.

We saw some big sea turtles resting on the rocks while we were there. Thursday night we went to dinner at a restaurant called CafĂ© ‘O Lei – also very nice, and then enjoyed a quiet evening in the condo.

Friday morning I slept in till almost 9:00. I suppose the fact that I was up three times in the night contributed to that. I’m fighting a cold and having some hip pain – oh the joys of getting old. After breakfast, we headed out to see some of the sights. It was sunny and beautiful. We first went to an old cowboy town called Makawao.

I call it the Haleiwa of Maui. The main part of town was lined with the cutest shops – clothing, crafts, art, cafes, you name it. I loved it – Devon was a trooper and didn’t complain once.

Then we drove to the Lavender Farm. It was quite a way up the mountain and by the time we got there it was pouring rain.

We looked around the gift shop and then left. We tried to find the historic Pulehu LDS Chapel on Lower Kula Road, but no luck. It was raining so hard, and we were running out of time, so we gave up and headed back to the condo. As soon as we were down the mountain, the clouds disappeared and blue skies reappeared. We were very glad to see the sun.

In the evening we boarded the Quicksilver for a sunset dinner cruise. It’s a catamaran moored at Maalaea Harbor.

We enjoyed a lovely dinner along with about 50 other people. The food was amazingly good, the crew was friendly and fun, and they had a great entertainer playing his guitar and singing some of our favorite songs from the 60’s and 70’s.

Judy's prime rib dinner
Devon's fish dinner

The only thing missing were the whales. We weren’t guaranteed to see any, but it is whale season here in Maui and we had our hopes up. The humpbacks migrate from Alaska to spend the winter months in the Maui waters. It would have been so great to see some of these amazing creatures.

Sunset aboard the Quicksilver

Saturday, December 17, 2016 – such a special day for us. Fifty years ago we were married in the Los Angeles Temple for time and all eternity. It really does seem like just a few years ago. I remember saying, “I just want to grow old with you.” Well, I got my wish.

Devon surprised me with this beautiful handmade Hawaiian necklace. It is made of prized pikake and momi shells found on the island of Molokai. Shells are hard to find in Hawaii. You don’t see any on the beaches. Most of the items sold as souviers of Hawaii are actually made in China or the Philippines. I really treasure anything made in Hawaii. This necklace came with a letter of authenticity signed by the artist who made it. 

Saturday we had a quick breakfast and headed out to find the historic LDS chapel. It poured rain for about 30 minutes in the morning and then cleared to beautiful blue skies the rest of the day. We found the chapel and fell in love with it. It reminded us of the historic chapel at Gadfield Elm in England. They were both built about the same time. They are very different buildings, but similar in spirit – both real treasures.

Old bread sacrament tray
Old water sacrament tray

We made another stop in Makawao town to pick up a print from a local artist who has a shop there. Then we drove part way on the Road to Hana. Along the way we took a short hike to this beautiful waterfall.

As we were leaving the area we saw these beautiful wild roosters. They are all over the various islands of Hawaii and come in a variety of colors.

Coming home we stopped at a beach and watched the waves, people, surfers, and wind surfers.

Can you see the sea turtle? There were at least half dozen turtles frolicking in the waves.

Most of our family was together tonight in Saratoga Springs for Christmas dinner and to exchange gifts. It was great to FaceTime with them. It’s not the same as being there, but better than nothing. We hope to FaceTime with each family on Christmas as we watch them open their gifts from us.

Sunday we got up, showered, packed our bags, and checked out of the condo. We attended church at the local Kihei Ward. They were very friendly and we enjoyed great meetings and lessons. They had quite a large group of tourists also attending church. We sat by a couple from Boston. After church we drove to the airport, turned in our car and then waited in the terminal for our flight back to Honolulu. We had clear skies and beautiful views of Maui as we flew away. We arrived home to find all was well. We had many Christmas cards waiting for us and a couple of beautiful anniversary cards from some very special friends.

Sunday evening was the annual Honolulu Stake Christmas Concert. It was amazing! It is the 30 year anniversary for this Christmas Concert - something they are rightfully proud of. It had a full adult choir, orchestra, children's choir, bell choir, dancers, and a couple of soloists. Their choice of music was diverse and wonderful. The Tabernacle was packed to capacity. There was overflow seating in the small chapel where people watched via monitor. Attending this concert really enhanced the Christmas spirit.

Our wonderful week comes to a close. I'm grateful for the memories of our anniversary and will treasure them in my heart. I'm a little worried about all the "catch up" work waiting for us Monday morning, but so grateful we had a few days off. 


  1. Happy Anniversary! What a wonderful way to celebrate your significant event!

  2. Happy Anniversary to a great couple and Merry Christmas wishes!
    We love reading your blog and sharing your experiences!

    Clark and Kathy Knudsen