Friday, November 29, 2013

A Day of Thanks

Our Thanksgiving Day yesterday was so beautiful-- not just in weather (Thanksgiving Day is always gorgeous where I live!), but also in spirit.

My Thanksgiving Day yesterday felt like a living in the middle of a sweet prayer, all day long.

Gratitude and family are good for the soul. And so, today, I want to count my blessings all over again.


Our Morganne, serving as an LDS Service Missionary, while staying with my parents in Idaho, is a blessing to so many. (Here she is dressed as a Grecian lady for an Institute dance.) She gets to come home for the month of December, before she has a new assignment in January. We are all so excited to have her stay with us again!


Our sweet Davy boy is a joy! He has grown so much, and while he wants to be one of the big kids, he is also still a snuggly little guy that gives the greatest hugs. We can't believe he is more than a year old now.

Davy loves "outside!"


Our third child, Lliam, has had a rough month. But he's also had some great experiences, too. 

One of the biggest blessings he has had is the chance to be in the Millenial Choir Organization. He's never done anything like it, but he is the only one in our family singing with them, and it has helped him learn so much! They are truly an amazing group, and we are so thrilled to go see him in concert next week! It will be amazing. (Check out come of their recordings by clicking the audio links under the main slide show on their web page.)

Lliam, in his concert attire


MacKenna chose to be baptized as a member of the LDS Church, and asked her big brother to use the Aaronic Priesthood to be the one to baptize her. Then, her daddy, with his Melchizedek Priesthood, performed her confirmation as a new member of the church and gave her the gift of the Holy Ghost. (To learn more about LDS baptism and confirmation here and here.) We're so grateful for her decision and the desire she has to choose the right. And I'm also very grateful that these two men are worthy and righteous Priesthood holders who are able to bless our family!

Brennan, MacKenna, and Daddy


Eryn is sweet, yet sassy, which is not a surprise for an eleventh child that has to hold her own near the end of a long line of strong personalities! We love her and her "snaggletooth" grin. She is three years old now, but can toss her head and proclaim her opinion as strongly as all her older siblings do. She is a great blessing, and I'm so glad she joined our family!


As of yesterday, our Dierdre is now twelve years old. Time has passed so quickly! She is a peacemaker, a talented seamstress, and a creative force of nature. She blesses our entire family every single day.


Ronan is never far behind his older sister. And he's ALWAYS at the forefront of whatever his four little sisters are doing. (How they idolize him!) He loves anything with an engine, and loves going to play with the boys in the neighborhood. Whether it's football, scooters, airsoft guns, or just going to the park with his buddies, he is ready and willing to GO. He loves having a little BROTHER, and is so helpful and kind to Davy. 


Brennan is busy preparing to leave on his mission, and is busy trying to fit in all the good, clean fun he can before he sets off to dedicate these next two years exclusively to the Lord. (Making board games, participating in historical reenactments, creating videos with friends, etc.!) He's also been shopping for suits, ties, shoes, and many other necessities that he'll need as a missionary. He reports on January 1st, 2014. We're excited and anxious! We know the people of Spokane will be good to him, and that he will have one of the best experiences of his entire life. This mama is just trying not to think about how much she will miss him...


Grayse Dawn is always busy, and always ready for adventure! She is also very imaginative in her play and speech, and catches me off guard with her winning personality almost daily. She brings joy and laughter wherever she goes!


Our Bonny is becoming so grown up! That's good and bad. Helping at home is not as much fun as it used to be for her, but she's also finding that she make new friends and have fun with lots of different people. She and some of the girls in our homeschool group had a great time together at a historical reenactment event. They toughed it out for two days, one in a constant rainstorm (unusual where we live!) and the other in a perpetual wind (also unusual!). She was a trooper and worked hard, all while looking elegant in her Colonial era finery.


Gavin hates haircuts. And I hate cutting his thick, voluminous hair, because it takes FOREVER! Why not just take him to a salon or a barber? It's just not been in the budget. And so, he and I ventured together into my bathroom, I with clippers and scissors in hand, and he with a prayer in his heart. And it turned out not too badly! He looks much better, and I only got a minimal bit of hair in my mouth. (yuck.) And I'm pretty sure it took less than two hours! (He really does have a TON of hair on his head!)

I am grateful that he let me do it, and that he continues to be such a help with the baby.  He does not let his autism slow him down, and is working hard to do more things that are out of his comfort zone. I'm so proud of him!


Avalon is fun, fun, FUN! (Though there are times that we don't quite understand her brand of fun...) She is smiley, and mischievous, and creative, and wild, and crazy. She is a lively girl that keeps us all busy!



Every day, I feel such overwhelming gratitude and love for the man that chose me as his eternal companion so many years ago. (Though it often feels like yesterday.) How the Lord saw fit to bless me with such a wonderful son of God as my husband and father of my children, I may never know, but I am so very, VERY glad He did.

My true love


I am so grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ, and for His perfect life and sacrifice for all the world. I'm so excited that the Christmas season is now here, and the feeling it gives me. It seems like all the world is celebrating His birth, and I just want to shout and sing Hallelujah all month long!

Love from your friend,

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Christmas Reviews

"Christmas From Heaven": The True Story of the Berlin Candy Bomber

Our New Favorite

Are you ever overwhelmed with joyful emotion every time you read or hear a certain story, no matter how many times you read or hear it?

That's exactly how I feel about the true story of Lieutenant Gale Halvorsen and the work he did as the "Berlin Candy Bomber" in Germany during the aftermath of the Second World War.

In our family, we have a special Christmas tradition of reading stories. We have some favorites that we gather together to read again and again every Christmas season:  from Dickens' classic "A Christmas Carol," to the fun story of "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever."

At the beginning of the holiday season, we start looking for a new story to share with our children at this special time of year, and this year, "Christmas from Heaven" is our new favorite!

This book is a wonderful addition to our collection! The paintings inside are beautiful, but the publishers have also included photographs of the actual events, the planes flown, the children who received the gift of candy, and even images of letters that German children sent to Lt. Halverson and his fellow pilots in the program! My children and I were delighted with the images on each page.

One wonderful bonus to the book is the addition of a DVD with the story being told by famous broadcaster, Tom Brokaw, at the Christmas concert of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The special effects are inspiring, and it's lovely to see the book dramatized on-stage. My children loved the video, as well!

We all expressed wonder and delight at experiencing such an inspiring, TRUE story of what one man in the world can do to bring back joy, trust, hope, and goodness to a world devastated by war. And yes, I cry everytime I think about it!

Lovely Ornaments

Names of Christ: Biblical Heirloom Ornaments
I am also excited to have the opportunity to review a beautiful new addition to our Christmas ornament collection! 

These stars each have a different name that the Savior was known by etched on both sides. They have a metal loop on the top of each that can be threaded with anything from colorful ribbon, to rustic string, or even metal hooks for hanging on a Christmas tree or in other places where you decorate. With one dozen stars included in the package, there are plenty to cover a tree.

These metal stars are very high in quality, and I am happy to have something new that will be able endure all the "love" my kids are sure to give them over the years! 

But more importantly, the words on each star help me pause and consider the many roles the Lord fulfilled in His life on earth, and that He is still fulfilling every day.

I am looking forward to hanging these lovely new ornaments on my tree this year, as a reminder of what Christmas is really about.


{Disclaimer: I received an Advanced Copy of these products for free, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions presented in this post are my very own. ~Mama Rachel}

Monday, November 11, 2013

A Day of Fasting and Prayer

Dear friends,

There are some very important issues that will be brought before the Supreme Court very soon, and they are so important to religious liberty and freedom of conscience!

I ask that my readers will please join me in a day of prayer and fasting on Sunday, November 17th to implore the Lord for His divine help in these upcoming cases-- first that the Romeike case will be heard, and then that the court will uphold parental rights and asylum for families who are persecuted by their countries of origin for their parenting choices.

There are also two more cases that are challenging the requirements that Obamacare is placing on businesses that have to do with denying the leaders of companies the right to act according to their religious beliefs and personal convictions.

Here's more about the issues and the names of the cases in question at the website:
In Romeike v. Holder, we are asking the Supreme Court to uphold America as a place of refuge for those who are persecuted for their faith. I feel good about our argument, but we must all recognize that the Supreme Court takes a very limited number of cases—so please pray that the Court will agree to hear our appeal.
This is not the only important case being examined that day. The Justices will also decide whether to hear cases involving the strength of our constitutional religious freedoms in the ObamaCare-related cases, Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood v. Sebelius.

Prayer and fasting are not the last resources-- they are the very BEST!!! Will you please join me and thousands of others who care about religious and family freedoms in prayer and fasting on Sunday, November 17th?

Thank you so much!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

"Casual Sex" Is NOT Liberating!

'When you “express yourself” you are conveying a message about your thoughts, feelings, and character. So shouldn’t we, rather than encouraging sexual expression for the sake of it, encourage MEANINGFUL and POSITIVE sexual expression? In the context of commitment and loyalty, sex expresses something. It expresses: “I love you. I give myself to you.” But what does casual sex express? “Use me and I’ll use you.”' ~Matt Walsh
In addition to the quote above, the following blog post makes so many valid points, and makes so much logical sense, I just HAD to share it here.

Abstinence Is Unrealistic and Old-Fashioned

The article is not for children, but I do think it should be read and discussed with the teens in our lives, especially since it was a response to a high school student's questions about staying morally pure.

Here are a few more quotes:
We’re told that we are sexually “liberated” if we throw ourselves at strangers and give ourselves over to people who couldn’t possibly care less about us. This is yet another lie. If modern attitudes about sex have “liberated” us, what, precisely, have we been freed from? Security? Commitment? Trust? What, we’ve broken the Shackles of Purity and Love and run gleefully into the Meadows of Pornography and Herpes? Because that’s all that our sexual liberation has wrought. A lot of confusion, a lot of porn, a lot of disease, a lot of emotionally desperate, psychologically battered, spiritually broken people wandering around, searching for another stranger who’s willing to go in for a few more rounds of sterile, shallow, pointless sex.

Even the term “casual sex” is insane. It’s an oxymoron. Denim is casual. Restaurants can be casual. Casual: without serious intention, careless or offhand, informal. A high-five is casual. Sex can only be viewed in this same vein once we have dehumanized ourselves enough to see human sexuality as something no more significant than a pair of jean shorts. 
Describing sex as “casual” is like describing the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel as a “nice little doodle.” That’s what I can’t stand — the people who diminish and cheapen sex are the ones who get to pass themselves off as “sexually enlightened.”
 Obviously, I don't see being "old-fashioned" as a bad thing. In fact, more and more, as time goes on, I believe it's the only way to stay morally clean. Following the truth that has been proven over and over again throughout all of history is the only way to be happy and successful.

I'm proud to say I'm "old-fashioned!" And I hope you enjoy reading and sharing this article with "old-fashioned morals" as much as I have.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Motherhood: The Divine Role of Women

This talk by Sister Sheri Dew titled "Are We Not All Mothers?" is WONDERFUL! I consider it one of the most important reminders we can get from another inspired daughter of God.

To quote from this wonderful address:
"Motherhood is not what was left over after our Father blessed His sons with priesthood ordination. It was the most ennobling endowment He could give His daughters, a sacred trust that gave women an unparalleled role in helping His children keep their second estate. As President J. Reuben Clark Jr. declared, motherhood is 'as divinely called, as eternally important in its place as the Priesthood itself.'"
Please take a few moments to watch the whole talk-- you will be so glad you did!


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Suffer the Little Children to Come

I love how willingly and gently the Savior invited the children to come unto Him. May we all do likewise.

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