Friday, November 28, 2008


Today is a good day BECAUSE I just got back from a meeting.  Elder Terrill and Elder Despain (our AP's) needed my help to teach an investigator--Magitra from Malaysia.  Since my Russian is awful, I don't get the opportunity to help teach very often.  Magitra's english is great.  We taught from Helaman 5.  It was a great meeting.  The Spirit was strong.  I know that God loves all of His children and I know he wants them to experience the joy that the Gospel can bring into their lives.  I feel humbled to think that I am playing a small part in that plan of His.   

The day after Thanksgiving is always a good day---BECAUSE it is the day I get to bust out my Christmas music.  So while you girls have been busy shopping the Black Friday specials I've been listening to Josh Groban.  His arrangement of  "I'll Be Home For Christmas" had me in tears.  I always get emotional when I think about our soldiers being away from their families--(do any of you remember me crying at the Fiesta Bowl when they have the flag covering the whole football field and show our soldiers on the huge screen, and whenever "I'm Proud To Be An American" is within hearing range for me?)-- then to hear them expressing their love to their families---a tear jerker for sure.  I wonder why I can easily relate????  Maybe its because your Dad and I are here fighting for the souls of these good people that we serve and being away from you is always hard, but ESPECIALLY hard at Christmas.  SOB, SOB.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Sisters:  Zonova, Hansen, Novgorodova, Smith, Bell, Jensen.  What a blessing these adorable Sisters are to our MWM and to our lives.  I am so thankful for them.  Only 6 left.

Your Thanksgiving hasn't even started and ours is over.  Of course I would have loved to have been with you and express to you my love and gratitude, but no can do.  Thank goodness we were able to be with our absolutely amazing Moscow West missionaries.  They bless our lives and we are so grateful for them.  They loved the feast and we had a great time being with each other.  Their skits were hilarious.  I love them ALL.  I hope your Thanksgiving is full of blessings like ours was.  Happy Day!  I'm missing you and loving you tons.
Hugs & Kisses

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Unfortunately, we only have 6 Sisters left in our mission and we have 15 less total missionaries now than last year at this time.  Now when we go to Voronezh to do our South Zone Conference, I'm very much outnumbered.  With the 8 Elders plus our AP's I am surrounded by 10 outstanding young men--it reminds me of how blessed I am to have 10 brothers.
ELDERS:  Kurth, Terrill, Clark, Wheeler, Bowden, McKay, Hiatt, Mitchell, Campbell, Despain

We had a surprise visit from these two beautiful girls--Tatiana Balatskaya and Alyona Safronova--former Sister missionaries of ours.  I felt like Alma when he was "astonished" at meeting up with the sons of Mosiah and his joy was even greater because they were still strong in the Gospel.  These cute little ladies were on their way back to their homes (a 16 hr. train ride from Moscow) after making the long trip to the Helsinkie Temple.  We loved being with them again.  I've missed them so much.  I'll always love my marvelous missionaries.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Erin is 33 years old today.  What a great daughter, sister, aunt and friend she is to all of us.  She is also a great Mom and wife to her own precious family.  She has many talents and has always been thoughtful and kind in her willingness to share those talents with others.  She has always loved babies and I have to fight her to get to hold "the kiddies".  She is beautiful inside and out and is a delight to be around.  Happy Birthday!  We hope your day is full of feeling loved.  We are so glad you were born into our family.  We love you tons!
Hugs & Kisses
Mom and Dad

Friday, November 14, 2008


Elder Gillis and Elder Vernon scored new hats from Dad at Zone Conference this week.  Dad picked up these two hats at a Stockman sale accidentally.  They were way too big for Dad, but fit these two "fat head" Elders perfectly.  What is so funny is they are companions and they both have lost tons of weight since they have arrived.  Most of our Elders do.   Aren't they cute?

Elders:  Mills, Salinas, Armstrong, Hunter (so cute too) at Zone Conference this week in Moscow.  The Lord sends us the best missionaries.  I heart them so much.

Dad and I are leaving in a couple of hours for our ZC in Voronezh.  We are going to stay over to go to the branches there on Sunday so we won't be back until Sunday night.  I'll miss you even more and you know why.  Flakes--good luck with getting moved.  You are lucky to have the Larks and Collins' there to help you.  Families are great to have around and I'm so proud of the way you kids help each other.  I have the best kids on the earth.  I'm the lucky ducky for sure.
Have a great weekend and remember to keep the Sabbath Day Holy!  

Thursday, November 13, 2008


We are so glad that Shelly married Jonathan.  She is the sweetest thing.  It was hard to find a picture of her without her arms full of either her own or someone else's baby.  Have any of you ever heard her sound like she has lost her patience or even beginning to lose her patience?  I haven't.   She is a great wife and mother and always looks so dang cute--even when she is 9 months pregnant.  We love you Shelly and hope you have a fun birthday today.  Jonathan will treat you like a Queen.  He is good that way and you definitely deserve it.
Philip and Tricia

Saturday, November 8, 2008


Happy Birthday to my Cutie Pie!  What a crazy nut this girl has always been.  She was born with a darling personality and makes us all laugh.  She is adorable too.  We are so glad Heavenly Father let you come to our family 7 years ago.  What a joy and delight you are to all of us.  One more year until you are baptized.  We will be there for sure.  We hope you have a fun day today and that you feel loved by all of us.  We love you tons Kiley Maree Skousen.
Hugs & Kisses
MeMa and PaPa

Friday, November 7, 2008


What a blessing it was to be on our visa trip to Madrid on our anniversary.  We celebrated our 37 years of being married by going to the Temple.  We are so grateful that we began our marriage in the Temple and having the opportunity to be there again on our anniversary day was a sweet delight.  We felt the Lord's tender mercies when the officiator said the session was going to be in English and then asked us to be the witness couple.  It is always a special time to be in the Temple, but Wednesday was an extra special time.  Who would have ever thought that while serving as the mission president and wife in the Moscow West Mission that we would be able to attend the Temple in Madrid?  Life is sweet.  Being married to your Dad is true joy.  I love him from infinity and beyond and I am blessed beyond measure to have you kids and kiddies all because we fell in love oh so many years ago.  HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO US! 


We love sharing our anniversary day with these good kids.  I remember the day they got married--it was such a special day and we were so wrapped up in their happiness that Dad completely forgot it was our anniversary.  He made up for it though.  It's hard to believe that was 14 years ago.  Congratulations to Jackson and Amy.  We are proud of you and the special eternal family you have created.  What a blessing the Skousens are to our family.  Good luck with what lies ahead for you.  California---here they come!  We Love You TONS!
Hugs & Kisses
MeMa & PaPa

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Since Shelly's sonogram was at 3:00 pm yesterday and that was 1:00 a.m. here I requested that I have an email with the news as soon as I woke up today.  "IT'S A HEALTHY GIRL"---that was the entire email from Jonathan.  We are so happy and excited for that news and relieved that Jonathan didn't have a reason to act up at the Dr.'s office.  How fun for Scarlett to have a close girl cousin.  Now  Paige won't be the only Collins girl either.  Here comes all the ribbons and bows to the Collins household.  Can't wait until that adorable little girl arrives.  I love love love my kiddies--they ROCK!


My Chunky Little Peanut is 1 year old and I was the Lucky Ducky to be there to celebrate his first birthday.  Our trip to the Pumpkin Patch that ended with yummy pumpkin cupcakes was a fun way to wish Sawyer a happy birthday.  We are so blessed to have this sweet, calm and always happy little boy in our family.  He is not only adorable, but is so immediately lovable.   I can't wait for PaPa to meet him.  We love you Sweet Sawyer.
Hugs & Kisses
MeMa and PaPa