Monday, May 11, 2015

Behold, My Little Ones


 I have always LOVED the following story, and feel the same about my own children-- ALL thirteen of them!

"The story is told that in ancient Rome a group of women were, with vanity, showing their jewels one to another. Among them was Cornelia, the mother of two boys. One of the women said to her, 'And where are your jewels?' To which Cornelia responded, pointing to her sons, 'These are my jewels.' Under her tutelage, and walking after the virtues of her life, they grew to become Gaius and Tiberius Gracchus—the Gracchi, as they were called—two of the most persuasive and effective reformers in Roman history." ~Gordon B. Hinkley

Mother's Day Selfies

I have had a goal for a very long time to get a photo taken with EACH ONE of my children.

Just to put it out there, and get it off my chest, chubby moms like me don't love to have our pictures taken very much. But one day I realized that if anything ever happened to me, my children would not have many visual records of me WITH them!

And whatever I look like, my children LOVE ME. They see me in all my chubbiness every single day, and that is how they will remember me.

THIS IS MY LIFE. This is who I am. And while I may not be a "hot mom," or look like a fashion model, I am the mother that they wake up with every morning, cry on, look to, and kiss goodnight each evening. And they need to know how much I love each and every one of them.

When you have 13 kids in your family, that is not always an easy thing to get pictures taken with each individual! But, I decided that for Mother's Day, I wanted to take the time to get a photo of myself with each one of my children. It was a wonderful Mother's Day for me!

We decided to do selfies, since it's fast and easy, though I'm not the greatest selfie-taker. LOL!

Since there's a lot of photos involved, we'd better get started! Here we are, in all our glory!

Fiona, my thirteenth jewel in my motherhood crown.

Fun and energetic Avalon, our tenth baby.

Grayse (our ninth jewel) and Mama

My sweet Eryn (#11) and me

Davy-boy (#12) with his mama

My MacKenna, the eighth jewel

Lliam-lad, jewel number three

Our Ronan, lucky child number seven

Our beautiful Bonny, the fourth child in our family.

Gentle and good Dierdre (#6)

Life is fun with Gavin, our fifth child

Lovely and placid Morganne; my first-born angel.

Best Mother's Day Present

The very, VERY best part of Mother's Day, was getting to Skype with our MISSIONARY!!!! And yes, I even got a selfie with our wonderful Elder Brennan. We miss him dearly, but are so proud of him and all he is doing to love and serve the people in the Spokane Washington mission.

Our hard-working, fun missionary, Elder Brennan Keppner. He is our second child and first son.


Love, Mama Rachel

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Living a Consecrated Life- Part 1

This past Sunday, I was asked to speak in church, and learned so much from the subject I was assigned! The title of my talk was to be "Living a Consecrated Life," and I had a wonderful time learning more about consecration and what it means to consecrate our lives to God. 

Because I want to remember the lessons I learned, I thought I would share my talk here on my personal blog as a way to keep a record for myself out in the internet cloud. Maybe it will also help someone else in the great "out there".

Love, Mama Rachel

What is “consecration”?

Elder D. Todd D. Christofferson said,
“To consecrate is to set apart or dedicate something as sacred, devoted to holy purposes. True success in this life comes in consecrating our lives—that is, our time and choices— to God’s purposes. ” 

For us, consecration means that we devote our means to do good, to give service, and to help the Lord's children. 

In order to do this, first and foremost, we must remember that everything we have comes from our Heavenly Father. In the early history of the Church, Martin Harris was told through revelation that he needed to mortgage his farm in order to fund the printing of the Book of Mormon. To us, this may seem like an overwhelming request, as I am sure it was for Brother Harris.

In Doctrine and Covenants section 19, verses 23, 24, 26 we can read exactly what it was that the Lord said to him:
“Learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me. I am Jesus Christ; I came by the will of the Father, and I do his will. And again, I command thee that thou shalt not covet thine own property, but impart it freely.” 
This scripture really make me examine myself and how I use the blessings that the Lord has given me. If everything we have truly comes from God, then we DO need to use what we have been given in the way he wants us to use it. And anyone who is familiar with the Savior's teachings knows how much he emphasized caring for the poor.

Blessing Others

The Lord gives us a very specific way to keep the law of consecration that is used to bless the lives of those who need help.

In Doctrine and Covenants section 42, verses 30 and 31, the Lord tells us:
“And behold, thou wilt remember the poor, and consecrate of thy properties for their support that which thou hast to impart unto them, with a covenant and a deed which cannot be broken. And inasmuch as ye impart of your substance unto the poor, ye will do it unto me;”
If everything we have comes from the Lord, then we must not keep back anything that the Lord asks us to give. 

The latter-day prophet, Spencer W. Kimball, said: 
“It is incumbent upon us to put away selfishness in our families, our business and professional pursuits, and our Church affairs. These things should not be. Let us resolve today to overcome any such tendencies.
In our family, we have had some very personal experiences with others helping us with their means in the spirit of true consecration.

First of all, we can never forget some of our dear friends who lived in Provo at the same time as us. We both had young families, and both households were struggling to make ends meet.

Russell and I were specifically struggling with some debts and medical bills that we could never seem to catch up on. I had not told my friend everything, but she could tell that our finances were strained.

One day, the wife in this couple arrived at our home with an envelope in her hand. She expressed her love for us, and left us watching her drive away with the envelope unopened. As I carefully tore it open, I found a check for $500 with a note enclosed. All the note said was,
"Heavenly Father told us that this money is for you, not us. Love, C. & A."
We were humbled and in awe of how much the Lord loved us, and in how blessed we were to have such dear friends that listened to the Lord's promptings with such diligence.

On another occasion, a few years down the road, we now had six children and I was pregnant with our seventh. We had been driving a 1978 Chevy Suburban without air-conditioning, but we knew that we would no longer be able to safely transport all of us in the eight seat belts the Suburban had. But we just didn't have money for anything new!

One day, out of the blue, a family in our ward called us and proposed that they give us their fifteen passenger van. They apologized that it had a lot of miles on it, but that it had a new engine and should run well for some time.

I was astonished! This family had thirteen children of their, and yet they were offering us their van? The wife explained to me that they had several drivers in the family now, and that they usually used more than one vehicle when going places, so they didn't really need it any more.

Sheepishly, we offered to exchange our Suburban for their van, and they agreed. (They actually used the Suburban as a project, and drove it for several years afterwards.)

Both of our families were blessed because of the generosity and spirit of true consecration that this one family showed in helping us as fellow saints and members of the church. They lived a consecrated life.

We have been blessed by the generosity of other families several times over the years, each situation being one that was inspired by the spirit of consecration. And because of the excellent example of wonderful people in our lives, we also have been inspired to "pay it forward" and help others we come across in our lives.

And that means that ALL of us are blessed, thanks to living a "consecrated life."

Watch for Part 2 coming soon: "Building the Lord's Kingdom"