Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Joy and Rejoicing!!!

My Beautiful Temple
(Photo source)
In our little corner of the world, there is much happiness and excitement going on among the Saints! We just got word about our new temple that is being built and beautified just "down the road" (3-ish miles) from our house! (It is literally ten minutes from me.)


From the Church's Newsroom:
The First Presidency has announced open house and dedication dates for the Gilbert Arizona Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The public is invited to visit the temple during an open house from Saturday, 18 January 2014, through Saturday, 15 February 2014, excluding Sundays. Free reservations for the open house can be made through the website in the coming weeks.
The temple will be formally dedicated on Sunday, 2 March 2014, in three sessions. In conjunction with the dedication of the temple, there will also be a cultural celebration featuring music and dance on Saturday, 1 March 2014.
My teens get to be in the cultural celebration. YAY!!! But my missionary will be gone before the Open House even begins. (Sad.)

The excitement in our area is palpable. We are absolutely thrilled to have such a gorgeous temple so very close to us! Word on the street is that this is one of the biggest temples that has been built in many, many years. I am looking forward to going every week!!!


Yes, joy and rejoicing, indeed.

Anyone wanna come see us during the Open House??? We'd love to have you!!!

Love, Mama Rachel 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Davy's First Birthday

Happy Birthday, little buddy!

I can hardly believe that it was just over a year ago that I welcomed our fifth son and twelfth child into the world.

Davy is such a joy! He is a happy little guy who loves being a part of this big crowd of people. (Good thing, huh?) He smiles most of the time, and likes to hug and kiss and snuggle, even though he's such a busy toddler.

He had a fun birthday, but we had to rush to get him to open his presents and eat his cupcake before he drifted off to naptime.

He got a fun card with real money from Grandma (Thanks, Diana!), and an awesome Renaissance Halloween Costume from Granna and Morganne! (Thanks, ladies! Yes, we will post pictures after Halloween!)

One cute thing about Davy: He has never shown much interest in any movies we've watched, but one movie night, the kids were watching "The Man From Snowy River," and Davy was squealing and screaming on the part where the man rides the horse down the steep mountain. He about jumped out of Dierdre's arms! It was so adorable!

Oo! Oo! The horsies!!!

From then on, he has shown an interest in horses, so we were thrilled to find a sweet and simple stuffed pony for his birthday.

Davy and his new friend
And now, for our far-away family's viewing pleasure, we present two videos of our Davy being super-cute. The first one is on the night of his birthday, when he decided to put a fun "show" on for all of us. The second is of him giving up on eating his cupcake and saying "Night-night," instead.

Love, Mama Rachel

Monday, October 21, 2013


This video sooo inspired me today!!!

Do I "brainwash" my kids?

After watching this video, you tell me...

(I sure hope so!)

Love, Mama Rachel

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Creating A Family Standard

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 negatiove 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 OrlĂ©ans 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. (Yes, I have done that before!)

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)

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 teens they know walk around with headphones in their ears all day. It is hard 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.

Love, Mama Rachel

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Mission Call!!!

Our Missionary

I want to let my blogging buddies know that our boy, Brennan, received his mission call yesterday to serve in the WASHINGTON SPOKANE MISSION!!!

He will be preaching the Gospel in the English language and enters the Provo MTC on January 1st, 2013.

Happy New Year to him!!! :-)

Here's the video of the call opening, surrounded by friends and family (thanks to technology!).

Monday, October 07, 2013

New Favorite Things

These last weeks or so have been uneventful, but somehow delightful!

Maybe it's that I have been "unplugged" from social media (Okay, but not Pinterest. I've been there lots and lots. And I'm not sorry.) and so I haven't had my blood pressure go up from all the political happenings going on in DC. (Okay, I promise not to go there. I want to maintain my peaceful feelings...)

Maybe it's that the kids and I have a week off from seminary and our homeschool classes-- I'm looking forward to less demands on my time this week!

One reason I know for certain, is that we had LDS General Conference this last weekend, and that ALWAYS makes me feel happy and peaceful!

Whatever the reason, I am smiling this morning, thinking about all the things that have brought me joy this week.

General Conference

As I said above, very few things bring more joy than the messages and promptings I receive on LDS Conference weekend. The fruits of listening include a peaceful feeling, more patience with my kids and others, more inspiration on what to do long term as well as each day, more resolve to do the right thing, more love for everyone!

I cannot recommend anything more than listening to or watching LDS General Conference. You can view one talk at a time, or watch as much as you can in one sitting. I LOVE that the Church posts all the talks in their entirety online as soon as the live sessions are over! Come and see! You WILL be uplifted and inspired! 

Uplifting Music

I have some new favorite music! 

Many LDS members are fans of Brigham Young University Men's Chorus, but what made me an even bigger fan, is that they are giving away a whole album FREE! It's called "Set Apart," and it has some of the most beautiful arrangements I've ever heard. The BYU Men's Chorus outdid themselves this time! My favorite song on the whole album is called "I Love the Lord." I like to sit in front of my speakers and soak it up whenever that song comes on!

Another wonderful offering is FREE music for Youth on the Church's website. Much of it is from EFY albums, and all of it brings the Spirit into our home when we listen to it. My favorite artists found on the list are Stephanie Mabey, Mindy Gledhill, and Hilary Weeks. Did I mention you can download the songs for FREE? Love it!!!

Truly GOOD Movies

This weekend, my kids and I discovered a new family favorite while my husband and sons were off attending the Priesthood session of Conference.

I can't say enough good about this movie! Not only was it beautifully made and acted, it has some of the most wonderful themes about the importance of generational families and family history that I've ever seen!!!

I cried. And jumped! And laughed. And grinned-- A LOT.

If you have a Netflix account, may I suggest that you follow the link and go watch this movie with your family ASAP??? (It's on "Watch Instantly" or whatever they call it now.) It will facilitate great discussions about right and wrong, forgiveness, family history, justice and mercy, what happens after death, and the Spirit World. 

(NOTE: There are a couple of scary moments, but they do not bring any kind of bad feelings or real fear. Even my small children were not really frightened. We jumped at two places in the movie, but those parts are quickly resolved.)

The Gilbert Temple

I live only two miles from this beautiful place. I see it practically every time I leave my house. I can't wait until it's done!!!

But, no word yet on when it will be finished so that we can go IN.

Like waiting for my boy's mission call, I just have to be patient. But I am sooo excited!!!

Have another lovely week!

Love, Mama Rachel

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

A Facebook Fast

The kids' Halloween artwork is dominating the wipe-board.
The nights are getting cooler-- YES! Autumn is here, at last.

With the change in season, I always find that *I* need a change, as well.

So, to my dear family and friends on Facebook: If you need me, check my blogs! I am officially on a "Facebook Fast," which means that I'm not going to the social network right now.

I'm not sure how long I'll be away, but for now, I'll be getting back to writing on my blogs, doing some sewing for my home and for Christmas, cleaning out my garage (since with the cooler weather, I won't melt if I spend time there!), and generally trying to get more done.

I'll miss you!!! Call me, email me, text me, and follow me on Pinterest. (Christmas is coming-- WOO-HOO!!!)

Hopefully, I'll get a better handle on how I spend my time before I venture back.

Love, Mama Rachel