Friday, November 21, 2008

It's beginning to look alot like Christmas!

It is the day after the feasting and since there are no "Black Fridays" to be found in Hong Kong, (possibly due to the fact that everyday is a sale day here)what is a gal to do to keep busy? Well, if you live in my world, this dilemma is solved via an assignment. What is the assignment you ask? It is decorating our lobby and three other floors in our building with Christmas decorations. The senior couples, area presidency and some of our chinese friends that work in the building all were told to meet at 4pm in the lobby and there we were assigned what task we needed to complete. Our (dad and I) assignment? To deck the walls with wreaths, boughs and Christmas bells! However, we didn't draw the most difficult assignment--which was to assemble our beautiful Nativity. The second most challenging assignment? Decorating the lobby tree!
They say that seeing is come along and see!

This is the corner where the lobby tree will go... The far wall will sport three bells!

These elevator doors are looking so forlorn...

Of course, before the magic begins there are lots of discussions as to how to make it happen!

Discussion ended...magic begins.

Oops! more discussions...

3 Hours Later: O Christmas Tree...O Christmas Tree!

Let the Bells Ring Out!

Deck the Walls with Boughs of Glory!

Away in a Manger...

The first floor Christmas tree! (there is also a tree on the 4th and 6th floors as well!)

It is finished. We were all tired and hungry, but thrilled with the spectacular results. Now if I could just convince the senior couples that Apartment 1201 needs their special touch it would truly be a little Christmas miracle!

Turkey Day in Hong Kong!

Today is November 27, 2008 and at one o'clock this afternoon thirty eight of us gathered together on the fourth floor of our building to celebrate Thanksgiving. The guest list included senior couples, the area presidency and their wives and a few other employees that sport an American passport. We all enjoyed Norbest Turkeys, homemade gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn, rolls and pies--it was a perfect traditional Thanksgiving feast!

But before we could sit down for our dinner, we needed to make the tables and the room festive! This is what it looked like before we began...(The man in photo is Sunny--and he truly matches his name. He works security in our building and always seems to watch for me when I am coming down to the lobby via the elevator...then goes to the door and holds it open for me. What a gentleman!)
And this is what a couple of the tables looked like after we had finished setting and decorating!

We began the festivities with a warm welcome from Dad!

Here is our table...laden with delicious American style food!

Meet the honored guests! It is a fantastic looking group...wouldn't you agree?

To finish off the occasion, Sister Smith worked her magic in Iris folding these beautiful handmade leaves to commemorate the day! On the back of the card was a Thanksgiving message from the Area Presidency!

This is Sister Smith...working her magic serving the pies!

What am I grateful for on this day? I am grateful for senior couples who leave their families to serve the Lord. I am grateful for our many friends who enrich our life. But most especially I am grateful for our family...from our children and grandchildren through to our extended families--know that you are loved and prayed over daily! I am grateful for blogging, and for working its' magic in helping us to stay connected with family and friends. I am grateful for my testimony--for it is sure; for my membership in His church--it anchors me; for an elder brother and Savior--who rescues me; and for eternal truths that assure me that families are forever and that we have a loving Father in heaven--this fills my soul with joy. I am grateful to be Hong Kong with Dad for this season of our life and for the numerous things that I have learned and experienced among the people in Asia. So on this day of gratitude and remembrance, may I wish you all a very "Happy Thanksgiving!"

Friday, November 7, 2008

Our Handsome Little Guy!

This photo was taken year three years ago today...(pretend you don't see the date stamp!)

This is 'Our Guy,' or 'Ry Guy' or 'Ryan James Hallstrom' as he looks today. He is adorable! He is funny! And he is three years old today! Hurrah for the three year old 'guy'!

He is a handsome little guy...just like his dad! And speaking of dads...Ryan adores his dad! They are always a twosome on the coach watching TV together, and when mommy tries to get him for his bedtime, he has been known to wail in dismay..."Daddy, daddy, I need my daddy!" And most of the time, his daddy agrees with him!
I love his chatter..."Ryan!" I exclaim. "What Nana?" he responds in a serious little voice and then we are off on a dialogue that always makes me smile. He loves all things mechancial and trys his very best to make them work!

He is a chip off the 'old' block!
When bringing him a little treat one night and he cleverly spied it in my hands...He said in a frantic voice..."Oh,oh, I need that!" and so, before he could hyperventilate...I put it into his little hands, and he responded with a heartfelt, "Thank you, Nana!"

He is a great helper, with a firm, "I will do it! NO, I will do it!" Look at him taking Grandpa Clifton for a walk! He loves trucks and cars and trains and planes--and, oh, I can't wait to see his face on this year's Christmas morning when he opens his present from us! However, where he excels is at the computer. He can navigate his way from signing on, go to Favorites, scroll down and click on Bob the Builder and then proceed to play the game of his choice without any help from adults. I kid you not! (Julianne, we need a picture of him at the computer!)

It is the same thing with game boy--he loves to play it and he loves to watch! Note the intensity of focus! Too, Too Cute!

How many three year olds do you know that can do the "shaka?"

So on this special day, November 7, 2008, we would like to say, " Happy Birthday Ryan James!" You are loved and adored in Hong Kong!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Fond Farewell and Warm Hello!

We said goodbye last night to Elder and Sister Toone and hello to Elder and Sister Halversen who are taking their place here in Hong Kong. It was a sweet occasion to be gathered together with friends who wanted to express love and appreciation for the good work that these couples have done and will be doing. It is good to be reminded that we belong to a wonderful community of saints who are willing to give of their time, their talents and their means--not to mention leaving their families to help build the church anywhere in the world that they are called. It is a privilege to witness the miracle that are Senior couples!

This is Elder and Sister Toone...they are flying home on Monday!

Say hello to Elder and Sister Halversen from California! They are thrilled to be here!

Of course, you must check out the table setting!

Here's a closeup of the individual place setting!Here we are (minus dad who is taking the photo) all gathered together, ready to have a fabulous meal....What was on the menu you ask? Cranberry Chicken and a lovely sauce...Festive Fried Rice....corn...spinach salad and rolls. For dessert we had apple crisp and ice cream!

Does it make you hungry?

Don't you wish you were all here? I DO!