Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013

From our family to yours: We hope you had a beautiful Christmas Day!

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With love,

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Still, Still, Still

After a long, noisy day running here and there, I just need to sit for a brief moment and take a deep breath.

I'd like take time to share some of my favorite, peaceful Christmas music with you. I hope you enjoy the peace it brings. (I know I will!)

In the Bleak Midwinter

I love to listen to vocalists that have a clear, bright tone. As a singer myself, (though nowhere near the class of the vocalists here!) I really appreciate angelic-like voices! The two ladies in these following videos are my FAVORITES. Oh, I can't get enough of listening to them!

The Wexford Carol

Silent Night (Oiche Chiuin)

I adore music from "the old country." I have lots of English, Welsh, and Scottish blood in me, and whenever I hear a folk tune from "across the pond," I get chills. It just sounds so familiar!

{I know I need to do something about being an "Anglophile," but I'm pretty sure than only a visit to the U.K. will ever cure me... Someday...}

O Come, Emmanuel

And last, but certainly not least, is one of my favorite Christmas Carols played by one of my favorite musical groups, accompanying one of the most beautiful reenactments of the Christmas story I've ever seen.

Hosannah!!! I wish everyone a very merry Christmas, with a lovely moment or two of quiet and peace to ponder on the true reason we celebrate this time of year.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Nightly Christmas Devotionals

"Mary's Heart" by Liz Lemon Swindle

In our family, we have a special tradition. Every night of December, we gather together and read from our family Christmas book. Each page has a scripture to read, a song to sing, and then an uplifting story to be read aloud. 

A couple of years ago, I took our old, ring bound, falling-apart Christmas book, and made a new version using Shutterfly's scrapbook program. It has been so fun to have our special book in a "real", book-bound format!

Click here to create your own Shutterfly photo book.

What are YOUR family's Christmas traditions? And how do you remember Christ during the Christmas season?

Happy Christmas,

P.S.-- I received NO compensation from Shutterfly, and will receive no compensation from them, even if you click on their link above. I'm just sharing something our family has done that we enjoy. :-)

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.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Creating a Family Standard

My dear readers,

This is a cross-post from my family's personal blog, but I feel it is worth sharing here. As the world becomes more chaotic and confusing, I firmly believe that we need to be specific and clear with our children about our family's goals and expectations. 

It is my hope and prayer that you and your families can continue to stand for truth and righteousness wherever you are, and whatever your circumstances.

For years, I have been convinced that our family needed a "Family Standard." But it wasn't until this past weekend that we finally finished ours! 
Why do I think our family needs one? 
Well, because there are problems and issues that keep cropping up and causing unrest and contention in our home-- rules and standards that my husband and I thought were understood, but obviously haven't been, due to the negative aspects going on.
So after reminders from our awesome stake president in a recent adult fireside, we decided to finally take action.
(Our stake president assured us that he and his wife have had plenty of "Family Home Grievings" in their home, where they look around and observe the weeping and wailing that comes from renewing and resolving missing standards. That gave me hope!!!)

Joan of Arc

In one of my FAVORITE parenting books, written by my good friend, Nicholeen Peck, she talks about having a Family Standard that is designed specifically for each family. In her book, she mentions how Joan of Arc would go into battle holding her standard, or flag, high so that all the men fighting would continue to have hope and courage to keep going.

Here's what one source said about that:
Joan never actually fought in battle or killed an opponent. Instead, she would accompany her men as a sort of inspirational mascot, brandishing her banner in place of a weapon. She was also responsible for outlining military strategies, directing troops and proposing diplomatic solutions to the English (all of which they rejected). Despite her distance from the front lines, Joan was wounded at least twice, taking an arrow to the shoulder during her famed Orléans campaign and a crossbow bolt to the thigh during her failed bid to liberate Paris.
And from another source:
The purpose of the standard was to indicate a clear location to which her army could rally when dispersed in the confusion of battle. On several occasions when her troops were losing ground, Saint Joan of Arc is reported to have ridden into the midst of battle, using her standard to mark her position on the field, and rally her men on to victory.
"I loved my banner forty times better than my sword. And when I went against my enemy, I carried my banner myself, lest I kill any. I have never killed a man." In Her Own Words, p. 26
 Sometimes, I think our children just need to know FOR SURE where we stand on things, so that they can have courage to keep fighting, keep trying.


 I can't begin to tell you how difficult it was for us to write our standards out on paper. I have been distracted from the task for YEARS, remember! This last weekend we closed ourselves in our bedroom for a day and a half and did not come out until it was FINISHED.
During our standard's creation, my husband and I felt opposition from the adversary in a way that we rarely have before! It was like we were trying to slog through mud in a rainstorm, or trying to drive at 15 miles per hour in a blizzard with very little visibility.
But there was this spark that kept urging us on, and when one of us would get overwhelmed and ready to despair, the other would take up the task and sit down and write. The adversary was using every trick in the book, but at the same time, the Holy Spirit kept whispering words of comfort and encouragement.
We used the Church's booklet, "For the Strength of Youth" a LOT, quoting from it now and then, but also using its outline and format to organize our thoughts. I feel that, if the Lord has a outline and standard for the youth of the Church, then we should have one specific for our children, too!

Every family has a standard.

Whether it's stated or not, every family has a culture and law in how they do things. The standard may be that they don't have any rules! But they still have one by the way they live. If we want to guide the outcomes of the people our children (and ourselves!) become, we need to be sure to have the boundaries that we need set in place.
As I said above, my husband and I had made too many assumptions that our kids knew our expectations and reasons for why we do things the way we do, but as our kids get older, we have seen boundaries that we thought were strong, being bent and pushed. It is human nature to test boundaries, and our kids have been testing ours with a lot of persistence the last few years! We realized we needed to reinforce the boundaries, and build up the walls (Like Captain Moroni in the Book of Mormon) to protect our family better from the slings and arrows of the adversary.

Our Family Standard

Our Family Standard turned out to be quite long (10 pages)-- and that's because we were very specific! It's easy to see the areas that have become of real concern to us. (Time wasting, management of electronic devices, pairing off in couples, etc.)
It's interesting that we have had some of the problems above, because we have never allowed any of our kids to have their own electronic devices. We have always talked openly to them about dating standards, and had very frank discussions about not getting romantically involved with others until they are of marriageable age. And yet, we've had issues come up.
Our kids may be homeschooled, but they don't live in a bubble! They know that all the kids at church have their own phones and i-Pods. They know that lots of teens they know walk around with headphones in their ears all day. It is difficult to be different!
I know that we are very, VERY strict parents. BUT, we have worked hard to nurture the relationships we have with our children. That has been one of the REAL benefits in our homeschooling efforts, is that we KNOW our kids! We work on our relationships with them every single day, all day long. And because of that, they trust us. They have been meek and willing to take a look at what they've been doing, and have been willing to change.
Luckily, our family meeting went well. My husband and I are the first to admit that we have some real, BIG shortcomings that we need to overcome. We acknowledge that we are some of the worst perpetrators (especially of the time-wasting!) in our home. So we asked their forgiveness for setting bad examples. We asked for their help in overcoming our weaknesses.
And so, we avoided a "Family Home Grieving" episode, and instead, our home has been filled with peace and love.
Perfection? No.
But overflowing love and feelings of security and hope?
I am so glad that my husband and I pushed through the opposition and finally finished creating our standard. It is helping us all-- me included!-- feel like we have a direction and goals to become the very best disciples of Christ that we can be.
If you are interested in our Family Standard, you can read it here.
I pray ALL parents will have the strength to stand and hold up a righteous standard for their children to follow, however short, long, general, or specific they make it. The hope ours has given our family is real and powerful.
With love,

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A New Servant of God

My son, age 18, has decided to dedicate two years of his life, twenty-four hours, seven days a week, to bringing others to Christ.

In our church, young men and women apply to Church headquarters to receive an assignment where they could be sent anywhere in the world to become missionaries, teaching others about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and inviting them to be baptized as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

While these young people are serving, they dedicate all their time and efforts to being missionaries. They separate themselves from worldly entertainment and pursuits, working from early morning to evening teaching people. They leave behind their families, hobbies, friends, cars, college, and EVERYTHING. They call their families at home only twice per year (Christmas and Mother's Day), but they can write their families once a week via email or letters.

In my extended family, we have had lots of missionaries serve. My grandfather served a mission in the Southern states, back in the late 30's, I believe. He spent most of his time in Florida on that mission, and then he and my grandmother returned together to serve in Alabama. Yes, they left behind their grandkids and hobbies to also share the good news about the Savior. It had a HUGE impact on me as a child!!! 

My husband served in Arizona, my brother served in Ohio, and I have brothers-in-law, uncles and cousins (men and women) that served all over the world!

I am so grateful my son has decided that giving two years of his life to the Lord is the most important thing he can do with his life. Here's a video of him opening his call:

So if you live in Eastern Washington or Northern Idaho, watch for my boy on his bike, and maybe feed him now and then? He is looking forward to loving and serving the great people of the Washington Spokane mission! 


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Why I Keep Having Children

"The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force." ~The Family: A Proclamation to the World

There's a common joke in the world today when people see a large family. It goes something like this:
"Are you Catholic...? or Mormon...? Ha ha ha!"
Really, it's a very OLD joke, because I think we all can see that there are actually not many Catholics or Mormons having large families these days. (I'm only guessing about the LDS birth statistics, but being an active member who moves around a lot, I think I have a fairly good grasp of the average size of most active LDS families. Of course, we still have larger families than most, but anyone can attend a church activity or meeting and see that LDS family sizes are noticeably shrinking from what they once were.)

There are the occasional exceptions to this (like our family), but as a rule, most families, regardless of religion, routinely use birth control or sterilization to stop having children.

Five of my seven lovely daughters, posing after church.

Multiply and Replenish

Today's definition of a "large family" is very different from what it used to be. I have heard gasps of disbelief and exclamation when I have overheard young LDS (Mormon) moms tell someone that they have-- wait for it-- FIVE children. 

The responses range from "Wow, you're a SAINT!" to "Are you CRAZY?" and even "Oh, my gosh. I would KILL MYSELF!"

When people ask how many children I have, I respond in various ways, based on the situation. Sometimes, when I can tell that they might go into shock if they really knew the actual number, I smile and say "A lot." Most of the time, it's just a question people ask to begin small talk. Usually they are not looking for something as earth-shattering as hearing that I have had a dozen children from my own body, no twins. 

I mean, who could be THAT insane?

Brennan with Grayse

Training for Real Life

I think one of the shocking things about having lots of children to many people in our society is that they imagine that I have a dozen two-year-olds running around, driving everyone crazy, and tearing my house apart.

But then, when it occurs to them that I have older children, they start to talk about how nice it is to have older kids to help. Unfortunately, often they then go into how they hope my big kids get a chance to have fun, and that they aren't "raising my children for me."

Yeah, they uncovered my evil plot: I have more children that cost money, time, effort, resources because I want to enslave my older children so they never have any fun. No fun allowed. EVER.

One thing they have right. I want my older kids to know what it is to be a parent. I want them to think about someone else's needs outside of their own. I want them to grow up knowing how to love and serve others. I want them to know that the universe does not entirely revolve around them.


Diabolical, I know...

My five handsome sons

Suffer the little children to come unto me

There is a relatively new movement of Evangelical Christians having large families. (A very famous family, the Duggars, are part of this growing philosophy. And yes, we love their show at our house!) They call it "Quiver-Full," and I have been asked by people who don't know what my religion is if I am part of it.

I have said yes. Which is kind of true, because I know what the movement is about, and I happen to agree with the principles of it, even though I'm not Baptist.

I've also said, "No," and then explain that I am LDS (Mormon). Sometime, when I give that answer, the person may back away slowly, nervous of what I might say next. But then, they might remember the old joke about Mormons and Catholics, and now have a story to tell about a REAL, LIVE Mormon lady they actually met who had a ton of kids.

Hey, I'm willing to provide that service! But no, my pathetic obsession with being the center of attention is not the reason I have a large family. I promise.

I have children because that is what the Lord has commanded my husband and I to do.

And no, I am not now going to go into a diatribe about how selfish other couples are, and about how evil birth control is, or about how I'm trying to buy my way into heaven by having a houseful of children. (This is for the fellow LDS sister who asked me the other day why I wasn't translated yet.)

All I am saying is that the Lord has asked me, through personal revelation from the Holy Ghost, to welcome each and every one of these children of His into my heart, my home, and my family. 

I don't know for certain all the reasons why the Lord wants me to have this many children, but I DO know that I am far, far, FAR from perfect, and that this is one way the Lord is teaching me to get over myself by serving others.

I am fully aware that I still have a LONG WAY to go.

My mom with her siblings and my grandmother.

Doing My Part

Growing up, I always knew that I personally wanted a large family. I come from a long line of large families, especially from my mom's side of the family tree. My mom is number five of eight children, and I have always LOVED being with my entire extended family. My very BEST memories of my childhood are tied to those close, loving, BIG, family relationships. I knew that I wanted to be just like my beautiful and stalwart grandmother by having a large posterity around me forever. To this day, that vision of having all my children and grandchildren around me throughout my life thrills me to no end.

And I already get to have that joyful noise and warmth around me EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. My life is filled with joy!!! How could I regret inviting any of these awesome people to be such a big part of my life? How? How? HOW?

I couldn't. And I haven't. I feel really good about that.

Now that I have a big--okay, MEGA-sized-- family, I am learning all kinds of really neat things about big families.

The reality of life is that the world needs CHILDREN. 

It's actually kind of scary. 

Who will be the next generation of citizens, parents, teachers, leaders, when so many of them are tragically slaughtered in the U.S. and all over the world every single day?

My heart breaks for those I know and love that have not been able to surround themselves with all the children they hoped and planned for. 

Infertility is a HUGE problem, and it frustrates me to see how so many wonderful couples want children, and then compare that to how many couples reject welcoming children in to their families. 

I don't know how to sort all that out, and I'm grateful I don't have to! But I know that the Lord is over all, and that He will work it all out in the end.

Our precious twelfth child, Davy

One more

It should come as no surprise to my readers that I am now expecting my thirteenth baby, due in mid to late April of 2014. 

Am I surprised? 

Yes, and no. I really thought our Davy was the last. 

But then, I thought that about baby #7, and then about baby #10, and then about baby #12.

The Lord is asking me to step into the dark once again. He wants me to trust His plan and bring one more baby into our family and into the world. 

I have had some very sacred experiences with the spirits of my unborn children. I am careful about what I share, but I can honestly say that I know that each one of my children is supposed to be here. I know that they are meant to be a part of our family-- that God sent them specifically to my husband and me to raise.

I am doing my very best to help them return to our Father in Heaven. Thank goodness for the Lord's help in doing so!

I assure you that I feel that responsibility keenly, and that I take it very, VERY seriously. None of my children are "a mistake." They were invited by my husband and I, and they were sent by God.

I testify of the divinity of parenthood. It is a holy calling and the greatest work ANY of us can do. I am so grateful for the chance to be a small part of the grand design.

With gratitude and joy,

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Family: A Proclamation to the World

To read the entire text of "The Family: A Proclamation to the World," follow this link. This post contains excerpts from this divinely inspired document from living prophets and apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ's church.

"...marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children."

"All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose."

"The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally."

"We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force."

"We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife."

"We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan."

"Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ."

"By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families."

"Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children."

"In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners."

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