Monday, May 30, 2011


Karrissa, Nate and Cash

wyatt, cash and maverick exploring in the rocks

Monroe and Maverick

Wyatt and Monroe showing Nana the sand crabs they found

We just got home from our annual trip to Capitola. I look forward to this every year. Karrissa and the kids came down early while Brad stayed home and worked. Nathan joined us as well. We have our "favorite" spots while we are in Capitola beginning with our stop at Gayle's bakery. Then each morning I like to get up and take the kids out for donuts and a walk on the beach. One day we go to sand dollar beach and look for sand dollars. This year we went to Monterey to go to the Aquarium. My favorite thing to do is body surf with the kids. So far Wyatt is the only one brave enough to go all the way out but we had fun. Monroe is getting braver every year. Cash just giggled the first time he felt the sand moving under his feet when the wave rushed over him.

Friday, April 29, 2011

We met this little boy at the Patron's housing in the Temple

reciting the ABC'S in English with an adorable Russian accent video

Monday, April 25, 2011

Our Trip to Ukriane

3 weeks just flew by
We walked all over Donetsk,
To all the parks, 
the Soccer Stadium,
both our old apartments,
Am store
3 Fat Guys
We rode the Trolley, the Marshooka, The Train (To Kieve, Crimea, and back to Donetsk), Taxis, 
and rode with our wonderful driver Vladimir, and President Fry
Had a visit to Olga and Vitaly's
Family Home Evening with the Ternov Family
Family Home evening with the Fry's
2 Sunday's in Centrally Branch 
Attended a Service Project at the Kalininsky building
spent time at the Kieve Temple with Olga and Vitaly, and
went to Crimea to see the Black Sea

It seemed like we had just gotten there and we were already saying Good-bye

Oh the Places You'll Go

Family Home Evening at the Ternov's
Trolley Rides
The Black Sea
Train Rides
Ferry Rides
Our Old Apartment on Vatutina

Marshooka Rides
Anya and her dad with Bruce and I
Visiting with Vitaly and Olga at his moms house

Walks in the Park


I was worried about what it would be like to walk through the doors of our church building as a visitor. It was so amazing. I was so excited to see everyone again. It's funny but I was worried that maybe the members wouldn't be as excited to see us as we were to see them. But that was crazy. They smiled and hugged us, and the feeling of love was overwhelming. I felt so loved. I didn't want Sacrament Meeting to start because I was so busy visiting with everyone. Once the meeting did start I loved hearing the prayer given in Russian and just like when we lived in Ukraine a sweet missionary came and translated during the whole meeting for us. It was Fast and Testimony Meeting so we were able to hear the wonderful testimonies of the members of the church.

Our Trip to Ukriane

Nastia, and her new husband Sasha who was baptized when we lived in Ukraine

Annya and her handsome cousin Ilea

Ilea and Volvo

Sister Fry, Sister Sechova, and Sister Vera

Sister Sechova

Sister Galena

We're back from Ukraine!! What an amazing trip. I was so excited to be back. Olga, Vitaly and Anya met us at the airport. It was so fun to see them and to meet baby Masha. The people at customs were so nice and we were amazed at how comfortable we felt the minute we stepped off the plane. I think it made a big difference knowing what to expect as we cleared customs and went to pick up our luggage. Olga and Vitaly took us to the Mission Home where we stayed until we left for Kiev a few days later. The Fry's were traveling with their two daughters who had come to visit from America. Anya couldn't stay with us because she had to go see if she could pick up her passport. She was planning to go to Kieve to apply for a Visa as soon as she could get her passport. 
The first morning when we woke up Bruce and I went for a walk. We found ourselves at McDonalds and as we sat there Bruce commented how it "felt like home". It really did feel like we never left. Olga called to see if we wanted to meet up and go for a walk together so we all met at McDonalds then walked to the park near our old apartment. It was still pretty cold outside but we really enjoyed our walk. The Fry's came home later in the evening and we met their daughters Denise, and Jeanette. 

Donetsk Soccer Stadium

Home of the 2012 Worldcup

Kieve Temple

Me and Anya

Me and Anya

Me and Masha Gretski 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

We're going to see Olga and Vitaly again real soon

Sweet Anya all grown up now

This was what we thought would be the last time we saw Olga (this was taken at the airport)
I am so excited we are going to be in Ukraine very soon with our dear Olga again and her wonderful husband Vitaly. We will soon meet their little baby Masha. We're going to see Kieve for 5 days and will get to spend time at the Temple with Olga and Vitaly. I have kept in touch with sweet Anya as well and am so excited to see her again. I don't know how she got to be such a beautiful young woman in the short time we've been away. I am so excited I  can hardly sleep. I am going to hold these two special women in my arms one more time. I have been in contact with Sister Fry as well and they are so kind to let us spend some time with them. I can't wait to see them again. There is so much going through my mind. There are so many members of the Church that I want to see again. Olga is going to have Brother Koslov pick us up in his Taxi at the airport, was our driver on many of our Humanitarian visits. It will be so strange to be back in the church building again. I want to walk to all the places Bruce and I use to visit. The parks, the grocery store, streets that lead to our apartment, the street we took to go visit the Fry's, the street we took to go to McDonald's and the walk through the Reenik. It will be so strange to find ourselves there again but not have on our black nametags. It will feel very odd to not be Missionaries.

The only thing I am sad about is I am going to have to leave these wonderful women and  the many members I grew to love again when it's time to return to America. Saying good-bye the first time broke my heart. I never imagined we'd go back. Bruce has given me this trip as a gift. He knows how much I have missed my love's in Ukraine. He's such a wonderful man. I love him so much. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


While we were in Utah Bruce and I attended Conference. We invited Sam and Shawnee Crossley to go with us on Sunday afternoon.  Sunday morning we watched Conference with the Jacob family. While we were at the Conference Center we met up with Justin Permenter for a quick visit and later with Clark and Autumn Harris.

A few of my favorite quotes from the Conference. 

President Monson speaking to couples about missionary service,

"There are few times in your lives when you will enjoy the sweet spirit and satisfaction that come from giving full-time service together in the work of the Master"

"This is a wonderful time to be on earth. While there is much that is wrong in the world today, there are many things that are right and good".

and speaking about Gratitude,

"There are marriages that make it, parents who love their children and sacrifice for them, friends who care about us and help us, teachers who teach. Our lives are blessed in countless ways."

"When we encounter challenges and problems in our lives, it is often difficult for us to focus on our blessings. However, if we reach deep enough and look hard enough, we will be able to feel and recognize just how much we have been given"

and Elder Holland,

"In that spirit my message today is to say that we sustain you, that we return to you those same heartfelt prayers and that same expression of love. We all know there are special keys, covenants, and responsibilities given to the presiding officers of the Church, but we also know that the Church draws incomparable strength, a truly unique vitality, from the faith and devotion of every member of this Church, whoever you may be. In whatever country you live, however young or inadequate you feel, or however aged or limited you see yourself as being, I testify you are individually loved of God, you are central to the meaning of His work, and you are cherished and prayed for by the presiding officers of His Church. The personal value, the sacred splendor of every one of you, is the very reason there is a plan for salvation and exaltation. Contrary to the parlance of the day, this is about you. No, don’t turn and look at your neighbor. I am talking to you!

I have struggled to find an adequate way to tell you how loved of God you are and how grateful we on this stand are for you. I am trying to be voice for the very angels of heaven in thanking you for every good thing you have ever done, for every kind word you have ever said, for every sacrifice you have ever made in extending to someone—to anyone—the beauty and blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ."

and Sunday ended with an amazing talk by Elder Ballard.

It was titled "O That Cunning Plan of the Evil One"

"The battle over man’s God-given agency continues today. Satan and his minions have their lures all around us, hoping that we will falter and take his flies so he can reel us in with counterfeit means. He uses addiction to steal away agency. According to the dictionary, addiction of any kind means to surrender to something, thus relinquishing agency and becoming dependent on some life-destroying substance or behavior".

"Researchers tell us there is a mechanism in our brain called the pleasure center.2 When activated by certain drugs or behaviors, it overpowers the part of our brain that governs our willpower, judgment, logic, and morality. This leads the addict to abandon what he or she knows is right. And when that happens, the hook is set and Lucifer takes control."

"Satan knows how to exploit and ensnare us with artificial substances and behaviors of temporary pleasure. I have observed the impact when one struggles to win back control, to become free from destructive abuse and addiction, and to regain self-esteem and independence."

"Some of the most addictive drugs that, if abused, can hijack the brain and take away one’s agency include nicotine; opiates—heroin, morphine, and other painkillers; tranquilizers; cocaine; alcohol; marijuana; and methamphetamines."

I am so grateful to be a member of this Church and to be guided by modern day Prophets. I know that the words they share are indeed inspired. They are so pertinent to our day.