Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Book

The other day I got to hang out with a friend who's been living far away for a few years now. (Hi Celeste!!!) We had a great time just sitting and talking about our lives and philosophizing about politics, homeschooling, how we're raising kids, and even about our blogs.

Out of nowhere, it seemed, she looked at me and told me that I should write a book. At first, I thought about the books I'm working on, and how slowly they're coming along. (One on teaching kids to work, a homemaking curriculum for daughters and mothers, and a collection of classic readings.) I started feeling guilty and ashamed that I haven't finished the projects I've begun. But then she brought up my philosophies about womanhood, and I realized that she meant I should write about those things.

It took a day or two to sink in my scattered brain, but I'm now really excited. So, YES, WORLD! I AM WRITING A BOOK!!!

I can't believe it, but it's already coming along nicely! I've got the Table of Contents done, and found that I've actually been writing this book since 2005-- the day I began blogging. :-)


Please excuse me while I get back to it...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Morganne Natalia, born on December 27, 1993

Eighteen years ago TODAY, an angel danced into my life and made me a mother for the very first time.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, sweet Morganne!!! You have brought me more joy than I had ever imagined existed. We all love you so much!

Thank you for blessing us with your serene goodness and tender heart. Your good example touches more people than you know.


Monday, December 26, 2011

From Our Family to Yours

Avalon Noelle blowing out the candles on her snow-woman cake.

This December has been filled with happy memories and wonderful time spent together as a family. We started off the month with Miss Ava's birthday-- I can't believe she's now three years old! She is such a blessing to our family. She is full of JOY and is always ready with a quick smile and a warm hug. She loves to dance and sing wherever she goes. We are so grateful she has joined our family as baby number ten! What would we do without her sunshine in our lives?

Russell is a wonderful father.

Next came Russell's forty-first birthday. It never ceases to amaze me how much we grow in love for each other over the years. He has one of the kindest hearts I have ever known, and I feel privileged to know that it belongs to me! We spent a lovely day together, including taking the middle and little kids to the park for a picnic lunch of pizza and playing. We had a great time talking and swinging in the gorgeous weather while the kids played on the playground equipment. (Have I mentioned why I love living in AZ?) Later that night we went to the Hale Theatre's live production of "A Christmas Carol." It was so fun to attend a play together again! Since we met in a show, and then studied together as Theatre majors in college, it's a lot of fun to go back to our "roots," now and then.

The rest of the month has been filled with movie nights, multiple trips to stores, Spirit-filled sacred moments, wrapping marathons, and hours and hours of Christmas music blaring. I've loved every minute of it!

We love and miss our wonderful families, but we're also grateful we got to see so many of you this past summer and fall. We hope all our awesome friends and family had a very Merry Christmas and we wish you all the very best in the year 2012!!!

Lots of love,
The K Family in AZ :-)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Song for Christmas Eve

This is one of my favorite Christmas Carols, and here it is sung by one of my favorite singers with my favorite choir. :-D

May we each give Him our hearts this year. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Sweet Reminder

Be sure to watch all the way to the end-- you'll be glad you did. :-)

Friday, December 09, 2011

Making December Memories

This week is full of December busy-ness! But for some reason, it's also been very pleasant. I think a change of heart has made all the difference: I decided that I'm NOT going to get stressed or caught up in doing things "perfectly"-- or even up to the standards of anyone else! It's made a very busy week a time of happy memory-making for our whole family.

Here are some of the things that have happened this week:

1) Monday Night we had a low-key Family Home Evening: We sang a Christmas song, had a prayer, and got caught up on the latest "Merlin" episode. :-) It was nice that the moral of the show was all about forgiveness and taking responsibility for our bad choices.

2) Wednesday evening was an easy and fun Activity Day: We attended the band concert of a couple of our Activity Day girls, and had cookies afterward. No more activities until next month!

3) Thursday (yesterday), after three of my kids attended their Civil War class, everyone helped me haul all the decorations over to the church for the Ward Christmas Party happening tonight. My older girls and I had a great time unwrapping all the different Nativity sets from ward members, and decided what fabrics and trims we should use as accents, and where we would put them. It was so fun ooo-ing and awww-ing over each one!

4) And then last night, Russell and I took the Big 3 Kids to a free screening of Steven Spielberg's new movie "War Horse." Oh, it was soooo good! It inspired much pondering and discussion in our family. Themes like the importance of family and home, the relationship man used to have with nature, the relationships we have with our fellow man, and where technology has brought us. Oh, so worth watching! I HIGHLY recommend it!

5) As I mentioned above, tonight is the Ward Christmas Party. We have some more tablecloths to lay out and Nativity sets to display. Thanks to a sweet friend, I have some pine trees I can add to the decor, as well. Then, we have yummy potatoes to make, and a ham to warm up in our oven. I haven't quite figured out how I'm going to use the oven for both of them at the same time, but it will all work out, I'm sure. :-) I'm excited for this evening! (Even for the clean-up-- each family can gather up their own nativity set and take it on home!)

Happy December to all! And Merry, Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Beautiful Videos

I am so very excited about this wonderful new series of videos based on the life of the Savior, Jesus Christ!

The videos now available are just about the early life of the Savior, but there are more that will be added over time. These are BEAUTIFULLY done, and are an accurate depiction of the New Testament as found in the King James Bible.

What a wonderful way to be reminded of the reason for the season. Merry Christmas!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Land of Normal

Illustration by Gary Larson
Last Fall we had a new student join our homeschool classes. We hosted these classes once a week for youth ages 12 and up in our home. It was a great way for our youth to learn with other like-minded teens who value similar things like family, reading books, high standards, lots of studying, etc..

This particular young lady was not only new to our classes, but she was new to homeschooling. She had had a rough time in Middle School, and had begged her mom to bring her home. She was a beautiful girl, and very smart, but she really struggled in our classes. She seemed to focus a lot on her appearance, she was always on her phone texting, and she continuously complained about-- well, everything. She was a quintessential teenager.

One day, the dozen or so youth in our Shakespeare class were having a lively discussion and this young lady in frustration flung out the sentence "Ugh! You guys are so WEIRD!"

The other students blinked, looked at her in amazement, and said with smiles, "Yeah, we know."

She was shocked. Here she was, delivering one of the greatest insults in all of normalcy, and those "weird" kids were taking it as a huge compliment!

She quit after the first semester, and we've never seen her at any other homeschool gatherings-- I'm assuming she went back to school where she can feel "normal" again.

Like the "weird" students in my class (four of which were my own children), I've come to feel that being called "weird" is actually a compliment. I grew up in the Land of Normal, constantly comparing myself to my peers, whether it was in my appearance, my intelligence, or my abilities. Though I wanted to "fit in" and be accepted, I never felt that I ever measured up to what I "should be." I was told I was too loud and obnoxious, not smart enough, and definitely not thin or rich enough.

The battleground youth face every day creates a trail of broken hearts that rarely heal into adulthood. I know; I've been there! It's sad, because coming to accept myself as I am has taken me years and years-- and it continues on.

BUT, it has been so refreshing, so cleansing, so freeing to stand up and say, "I am going to try something different. And I DON'T CARE WHAT THE LAND OF NORMAL THINKS!"

Ahhhh. (Feels good!)

The Land of Normal is a very comfortable place for most people to stay. But where has normalcy actually brought us as a society? To materialism, body obsession, debt, ignorance, and down-right denial about the state we're in. (Heaven forbid we ever do something "weird!")

The citizens of the Land of Normal frequently shake their heads at me, my family, and my friends and all our "weirdness"-- some even giving me helpful advice like "You're crazy!" or "I'm really worried about your kids," or "What about the prom?!"

I'm finally okay with who I am-- that I'm "WEIRD." Remember, I think being called "weird" is a huge compliment.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Charity: The Pure Love of Christ

Quote attributed to Plato

"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing."
"And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing."
 "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all... Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth:" (1 Corinthians 13: 1-8)
 "But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him." (Moroni 7:47)

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about the word CHARITY. Not simply in general terms, but what it means in my life. How do I treat others-- those I know, those that are strangers, those who live in my home? Am I dismissing, pre-judging, trampling those I come in contact with? Or do they feel happier and uplifted because I was kind and understanding?

We children of God have the potential to do sooo much good! There is so much negativity, so much criticism in this world. Are we part of the problem, or are we different, because we know and love Christ? Are we building others up, sharing the pure love of Christ; or are we tearing people down, breaking hearts, treading on tender feelings?

Artwork by Greg Olsen
I have learned that CHARITY is not just about giving to the needy, it's not just feeling concern for people, or even about praying for others.

It means treating others like Christ would treat them.

Everyone needs to be loved, understood. Every person is a child of God, and needs to be valued.

And sometimes, all it takes to make people feel the love of Christ is to receive a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, or a hug.

One of my favorite quotes about the worth of souls comes from C.S. Lewis:
It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter; it is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply about that of his neighbour. The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbour's glory should be laid on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken.
It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare.
All day long we are, to some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics.
There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilisations-- these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit-- immortal horrors or everlasting splendours.

From the LDS Scriptures in Doctrine and Covenants, Section 18, verse 10:
Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God;

Sister Mary N. Cook said this at the last LDS Young Women's Broadcast:
"Benevolent is a lovely word that we don’t hear very often. Its roots are Latin, and it means 'to wish someone well.' To be benevolent is to be kind, well meaning, and charitable... Our Savior taught us about and lived a benevolent life. Jesus loved all and He served all. Centering our lives on Jesus Christ will help us acquire this attribute of benevolence. For us to develop these same Christlike attributes, we must learn about the Savior and 'follow in His ways.'"4
"President Thomas S. Monson taught us how to interact with our peers and everyone we meet when he told the young women of the Church, 'My precious young sisters, I plead with you to have the courage to refrain from judging and criticizing those around you, as well as the courage to make certain everyone is included and feels loved and valued.'"
We do not know the battles that other people are fighting, as we go through life's journey. If we treat others as Christ would treat them, we will not only please our Heavenly Father, but we may bring someone else to Christ.

We can all be a little kinder, more gentle, more benevolent. WE CAN HAVE MORE CHARITY, which is the pure love of Christ.

Monday, November 14, 2011

October Journey: Part Two

Russell and Miss Eryn
We had a WONDERFUL time in Idaho last month! Karl and Kenzie's wedding was so sweet, so lovely. It is a tender, beautiful thing to be at a family member's temple ceremony-- the Spirit radiates through the couple, and all around the room. Such a sacred event!

The adorable, happy couple!
Sonja's next!!!

Sonja is marrying the kind and handsome Isaac in January, and we're so excited for her! They'll be sealed in the beautiful Rexburg temple.

Granna and some of our pretty girls

(L. to R.) Isaac & Sonja, Karen & Nick, Reed & Julie (with new baby Allie!)
Two day old Miss Allie Mae and her gorgeous mama

Kitchen Duty

I had a great time helping to set out all the yummy sweet breads my mother-in-love Diana made and the pressed apple cider my father-in-love Randy made for the refreshments. The smell was HEAVENLY! (And I was good and didn't eat ANY! Still off sugar, yup.)

Miss Abby did an AWESOME job helping me! She is a wonderfully hard worker, just like her pretty mama.

Adorable Miss Abby

The real troopers were Debbie, Clay, and Miss Tyler, who slaved away in the kitchen practically all day! First for the family luncheon (and so did the amazing Karen and Nick!), and then before and during the entire reception. They are such a wonderful family! We sure love them!

Aunt Linda talking with Debbie, as Clay watches the reception fun. (Oh, and Avalon looking for more yummy bread.)

My handsome big boys!
Gavin and the garter!

The funniest part of the night was when Gavin joined in the crowd to vie for the garter-- and then HE caught it! Everyone was laughing! Then Gavin brought it back to us, holding it like it was a dirty rag or something, and asked "Now what do I do with it???" Hee! That made us laugh even more! :-D

Dancing with the Princess Bride

Our little cousin,  Miss Macie, LOVES brides! She was so excited to dance with the lovely bride, and so MacKenna followed along. At first MacKenna was dancing with Karl (her FAVORITE!), but then she decided the Bride was funner to dance with. (Sorry, Karl!)

Avalon joined in.

Cake by the very talented Mandy! (I got to help a bit, too. So fun!)

I loved seeing Miss Macie holding her new little sister, "Owie." (Allie) What a sweet moment!
(I wish I were a better photographer...)

We had a wonderful few days, but then we rushed back and traveled home without a hiccup! (Thank goodness!!!)

And here's two last pictures to show how beautifully Grayse is healing!

Still smiling!

"I'm ready for my close-up, Mama!"

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

A New-Old Chapter

"Twelfth Night" 2008

 Since we moved back to Arizona, I have felt a little bit adrift in the homeschooling community. I came back home to find that many of my homeschooling friends had moved away or moved on. I sure miss those that have moved away, but I understand that life goes on and things are bound to change with time.

"A Midsummer Night's Dream" 2009

So I got together with some that were still in the Valley, though more spread out in recent years. We created a wonderful little Commonwealth School, and met once a week in my home. We had classes on the Constitution and Shakespeare. We put on a fun play by the Bard. We laughed and talked and commiserated. Community!

"A Comedy of Errors" 2011
Then this past summer, I did NOT feel good about teaching Shakespeare this year. I was puzzled, but figured I would enjoy the break. I decided to have faith that the Lord must know some things about this next Spring that I didn't know.

Our little group moved to a more central location, at the home of my wonderful friend who is teaching a Civil War class to a few of the kids who were in our group last year. It is such a wonderful thing for our kids, and we so appreciate this amazing lady and all she's doing! But we mothers don't get to talk much any more. We're all in a rush, and have other things in our lives to do. Our little community just isn't what it used to be.

Life waltzed in again, and a new season is in full swing.

So. I recently got an e-mail from the chairwoman-- who is also a dear friend-- of the "other" Commonwealth School in the Valley. It's a BIG, active community with lots going on, and they have been planning for quite some time to put on a musical production next Spring. BUT, due to life changes in their own community, they no longer had a director.

Any guesses on what the e-mail was about?

Yes, you are "looking at" the new director of "Fiddler on the Roof" being produced next May!

I was kindly invited to the group's board meeting yesterday to talk about the show and my vision for it. As the ladies walked in, one after another, warmth filled my heart. HERE they were!!! The community I once knew before we left the state surrounded me. It was such a great feeling, and ended up being a wonderful reunion for me!

It's good to be back among some more great families. And I can't wait to get going on the show!

Mazel tov!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

October Journey: Part One

We've been to the Frozen North and back again-- AGAIN. We had some wonderful moments, and some traumatic ones, but we made it through them all to come HOME.

This is all too vague, you say? Well, let me sit back and begin the story of our October journey..

(WARNING: I want to retell this part of our journey in its entirety for historical purposes. There are some graphic descriptions and images of an accident below, so please proceed with caution.)

First,we got up early and were on our way by 5:30am. In all of our family travel experiences to date, NEVER have we made it up and out so early. We were euphoric about it, other than the nagging feeling that we had forgotten something. (Turned out to be something very minor, so it all worked out okay.)

The weather was glorious, the traffic was non-existent, and we were feeling like traveling pros. YAY! We only stopped a few times, and made them quick ones. We were cooking!

When calling our friend, A, to let her know where we were, she told us that our usual route was blocked by a landslide, and told us a different way to go; up over Cedar Breaks and down through Brian Head ski resort.

It was BEAUTIFUL! We all got out and peeked over the edge at the majesty and glory of God's earth. There was snow on the ground in patches, and the boys took the opportunity to make and throw snowballs. Even a cute little ground-squirrel got to experience a cold and chilly snowball, thanks to Brennan's great aim.

Driving down the steep switchbacks of the road home was a bit nerve-wracking because the brakes were acridly smoking. Russell downshifted when needed, and coasted as much as he could. Luckily, we made it safely down the mountain and back to the main road.

So, we arrived in our stop-over town at the unheard of time of 3:00 pm. Our dear friends, the "H Family", were as surprised as we were to get there so early, but-- as usual-- they welcomed us with grace and kindness. We were all thrilled that the kids got to play, and we got to actually visit and rest before the next day of full driving. Brilliant!

The Accident

The big boys were lighting firecrackers in the front yard, the little kids were playing in the back yard, Russell and J. were chatting, and I was helping A. make a salad to go with the pizzas. Our friends' large dog was chained on the back porch as a precaution meant to keep the kids from bothering him.

Grayse had been going in and out of the back door repeatedly-- why the frequency, I'm not sure-- and she had just stepped outside once again. As I stood in the kitchen slicing peppers, J. jumped up with a start, his baby still in his arms, and stormed out the back door, with Russell following close behind. I could hear Grayse crying in the background, but I was still working on the salad, with a strange, slow calmness flooding over me. I heard Russell call my name, and I asked "What happened?" placidly. Russell said something about the dog biting Grayse, and J. ran in yelling "Will someone take my baby?" I stepped in and took the crying little guy, all the while feeling this incredible calm.

The baby was getting more and more upset, so I handed him to his big brother, and in came J. and Russell carrying a screaming Grayse. There was crimson blood streaked all over her ivory, pale face.

J., being a doctor, barked instructions, and handed me a clean rag. I remember running it under cool water, and squeezing it out, and carefully daubing her face, trying to see where the blood was coming from without hurting her.

Everything slowed down.

A. started handing me essential oils and tinctures, and I was dropping them on Grayse's tongue in between cleaning her up. I think Russell was standing beside me through all the this-- I'm not sure. A. was saying "This is for shock," and "This is for ..." I don't remember what else.

I think J. went outside to deal with the dog.

Grayse's right nostril was entirely sliced through, and her upper lip had a large puncture wound in the shape of a Mercedes symbol that went all the way through to her gums inside her mouth. I was praying over her, asking for her to be comforted and calm so that we could help her. I asked Russell to give her a priesthood blessing and he gently placed his hand on her head, giving her a blessing of comfort.

I kept talking to Grayse, saying something over and over again. I think it was "It's going to be okay." She kept screaming "But it hurts!" I remember telling the big kids to take the little kids... away.

I will never forget how red the blood was against my little Snow White's torn-through nose. Russell said something about "Our pretty baby's face," and mixed in with my own fears about her scarring, my adrenaline was raging, my head not grasping the reality of what was happening.

Grayse was fighting my attempts to cover her with a blanket-- my Girls' Camp first-aid lessons about shock immediately coming to my mind.

The next thing I knew, J. was telling us about a doctor friend he has that specializes in stitches on the face that he had called and was on his way over right then. Grayse still screamed, refusing to be comforted.

The doctor arrived in an instant, and as he explained that he would be taking us to his office, I remember thinking, "Can this actually be fixed? Can her nose be put back together?" He explained that he had a little 4 year old, too, and that he had fixed her nose when it had been hurt in the same way. (Though not by a dog.) Grayse was slowly calming down, as the doctor distracted her, asking her questions, and explaining that he was going to fix her, and that he had a drawer of toys in his office that he was going to show her.

I asked the big kids to hold down the fort and take care of the other little ones, and we got into our van.

Her upper lip was swelling, and the blood everywhere was clotting and turning brown. I remember cuddling with Grayse as I sat next to her in the back seat, and her calmly leaning over and kissing my lips. I was amazed that she would do that, even though she was in so much pain.

We arrived at the office in a moment. It was now fully dark outside, and we climbed out of the van, and into a large building. As I climbed each step, holding my little one's hand, I kept thinking "Is this real? Is this really happening? Will this moment ever end?"

The doctor was wonderful. He put some swabs of sweet numbing liquid into her mouth to sit for a while, and I filled out the paperwork. Grayse was now lying perfectly still, her eyes closed. When something was said about her being asleep, she promptly insisted that NO, she was NOT asleep, she was simply resting her eyes!

After being numbed a bit, Grayse told us in no uncertain terms that the big chair to sit in was "scary", but then she agreed to be held by her daddy. (Russell held her throughout the entire visit.) She really hated the "pinches" of the numbing shots and told the doctor quite firmly that she didn't want him to do that anymore!

After making sure she was numb, he carefully cleaned her up with a gauze pad and saline solution, wiping all the blood away so the wound was clean. I recall looking at her perfect skin, the tiny white hairs on her face glowing under the light of the doctor's lamp.

J. arrived telling us that he was going to fill the prescription for a powerful antibiotic. He also announced, especially so that Grayse could hear, that the dog was GONE-- that it would be living somewhere else. (We never did ask more about that.) Russell and I felt no anger or blame. We ALL knew it was an accident, that it was no one's fault, that sometimes bad things just happen. That's life!

Grayse was exceptionally brave. I am still in awe of her calm spirit through almost all of the doctor visit. Every time the doctor asked her to close her eyes, she kept them shut tight. She laid calm and still, answering questions when asked, all the time cradled in her daddy's strong arms.

As the last few stitches were being put in her nose, she started to cry again, saying that it hurt. Unfortunately that meant more "pinches" which were very upsetting to her. I clumsily tried my hand at retelling her the story of "Snow White," which helped a little, but not quite as much as we hoped. Finally he was done, and Grayse scolded the doctor with "No more pinches!"

Then came the bandages, which calmed and comforted her. We limped back to our friends' home, reality setting in at last. We all went to bed, Grayse lying in a recliner chair right next to me.

I hardly slept a wink. The adrenaline was still racing through me, my heart pounding. I kept thinking over and over again about how I was going to tell my parents the next morning, giving them plenty of time to calm down and find peace before seeing us arrive. (I didn't want my tender-hearted Daddy to panic, or for Grayse to see anyone's looks of surprise and shock at her appearance.) And everytime Grayse whimpered in her sleep, I woke up to stroke her hair, tell her it was okay, and rock her in her chair.

Finally, the morning came and we hugged our dear friends goodbye. I was very sorry that their children had to say goodbye to a beloved pet, but I was also so grateful for all of the tender mercies God had placed in our path to make the situation as manageable as possible: we were in a doctor's home, he knew exactly who to call to help, we didn't have to wait in an emergency room. We received the right help, at the right time, and in the right place.

The Lord did not keep this bad thing from happening, but He did bless us with help, peace, comfort, love, kindness, and blessings to eventually heal the pain.

I testify that the Atonement of Christ is REAL. He has the power to carry all of our pain, suffering and burdens, as well as our sin. He can calm the raging seas in our hearts and minds, and bring peace to whatever comes our way. I say this in His Holy name, the name of Jesus Christ, AMEN.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Breath of Autumn

October Sky-- Photo taken by Morganne
After a WONDERFUL LDS General Conference early in the month, the heat has (mostly) subsided, the windows have been flung wide, my children are frolicking outside, and we've been planting some things in our Fall garden.

"Spooky" pancakes created and photographed by Bonny
 Autumn here in the desert is like taking a big, deep breath! The breezes are cooler and flocks of birds are returning. It was so lovely to start off the month with a spiritual feast!

Every six months (in April and October), the leadership of the LDS Church hold a BIG conference that they broadcast in LDS meeting houses all over the world, as well as over the Internet. We hear from various Church leaders, especially from the current prophet, and the Twelve Apostles of the Church. As members, we believe that these men are living witnesses and representatives of Christ on the earth-- so we REALLY value and treasure what the Lord inspires them to say to us!

These conferences are held on the first Saturday and Sunday each October and April. We do not attend church on these weekends. Instead, we gather together as a family and listen to the inspiring words prepared for us.

Ronan and Gavin listening for topics on their lists.

Thanks to Cocoa over at Chocolate on My Cranium, we had some great activities to help the kids have a better Conference experience.

Lliam being camera shy.

Dierdre is happy to experience conference!

Lovely Morganne took careful notes.

Bonny was drawing during the talks.

Grayse's chart

Even Mr. Tumnus joined in! (The image on the screen is the current prophet, Thomas S. Monson.)

Brennan and Eryn

In other news, we have a new arrival at our house-- but it's not a baby, or even an animal. It was an AWESOME deal on Craig's List!

$150 from Craig's List. Oh, yeah.
 With our other loveseat, we now have room to seat everyone in our "Celestial Room", where we have family scriptures and prayer. (It makes me just giddy to even think about it!)

We are loving it!
It has been such a wonderful thing for our family! It was a tender mercy that I wasn't even really looking for, but simply had in the back of my mind. It is a small, but happy, testament that Heavenly Father knows and cares about our little needs, as well as our big ones. Our front room finally feels like "The Celestial Room" we've needed!

I think the youngest ones at our house have spent every waking moment they can outside. It makes me smile to see them climbing all over the grapefruit tree in our backyard. I can almost feel the tree smiling, himself.

MacKenna is up the highest, Grayse is hugging Mr. Grapefruit Tree, and Avalon is grinning from ear to ear. (All these outdoor pictures of the little girls were taken by my Dierdre.)

The Three Princesses

MacKenna looking uncharacteristically placid.

Gorgeous Grayse Dawn

 The Amazing Avalon

Silly girl! (Moments before "The Accident.")

Amidst all this playing outside, our little-getting-bigger-every-day Miss Eryn is doing her best to navigate the wild and rough outdoors.

Unfortunately, she had to learn the hard way not to stand behind someone who is swinging...

"Did YOU do this to me?"
 She has yet to slow down simply because of a little scrape under the nose, however. No sir!

The rule is "No feet upon the new couch!" I don't know if Miss Eryn heard about that...

Miss Katie Bell is glad the heat has subsided. Prrrr!

Mr. Tumnus is ready to play anywhere, anytime!

We will continue to soak up the October sunshine and gorgeous weather until we head up to the Frozen North for a wonderful wedding soon. 

We are so excited for Karl and Kenzie! It will be wonderful for Russell and I to attend their sealing in the Idaho Falls temple.

Now is the time for laundry and packing, but more pictures will be coming in the very near future...

HAPPY AUTUMN, to one and all!!!