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Saturday, December 31, 2011

We Will Work for the Glory of Our Lord

 "It is a season to reach out with kindness and love to those in distress and to those who are wandering in darkness and pain." 

"The time has come for us to stand a little taller, to lift our eyes and stretch our minds to a greater comprehension and understanding of the grand millennial mission of this the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  This is a season to be strong.  It is a time to move forward without hesitation, knowing well the meaning, the breadth, and the importance of our mission.  It is a time to do what is right regardless of the consequences that might follow.  It is a time to be found keeping the commandments. It is a season to reach out with kindness and love to those in distress and to those who are wandering in darkness and pain.  It is a time to be considerate and good, decent and courteous toward one another in all of our relationships.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Family Christmas NewsLetter 2011

Big Family EventsWe bought an RV and drove to Nauvoo, many church history sites and Utah! An amazing whirlwind adventure!  While in Utah we saw many family members (yea!) and we watched Brooks perform in three shows in the Utah Festival of Opera in Logan. For Thanksgiving we also took a shorter RV trip up to Michigan and saw many wonderful family members and visited some good friends, the Fredenberg's, on their new farm! 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Higher Hope in Christ--A First Timer Shares Insight from the Sidewalk

Last Saturday we were just arriving at the clinic as the author of the below article was preparing to leave.  It was also Tony's first day and a very eye-opening and inspiring experience for him as well!  It was quite eventful for us: a woman who was there for an abortion, already the mother of 15 year old triplets (she gave birth to them at 16 years old!) and two toddlers, came down to the sidewalk to talk.  It was VERY sad as she ended up going in when her name was called--a friend was inside for her--and it looks like she went ahead with her plans.  At least she never came out while we were there for about an hour more.  Her main concerns seemed to be money and losing weight after the birth.  She asked me if those things weren't concerns for me? I told her that when we do all we can to do the right things, according to the commandments found in the Bible, God opens doors in amazing ways. I could easily see she wasn't receptive to that thought at the time, but it is my very sincere prayer that she will remember those words sometime down the road and turn her life around!  She believed/hoped she was only 4-5 weeks along and didn't feel it would be a big deal if that were the case. :( She said she just wanted them to tell her the truth.  Jeannette told her that the truth is something she would not likely hear in that place...so true.

But the great news is that while we were talking to the above mentioned woman, Lisa stopped a car and convinced a mother to not abort!  She came back today for a free ultrasound in the RV (the Pregnancy Resource Center was closed on Saturday)!!! She is 13 weeks and rejoicing today that she didn't kill her baby girl!!!

I copied the below article off the cities4life.org website.
"Our whole congregation was recently invited to be a part of the compassionate ministry that takes place outside a local abortion clinic by fellow members that are passionately involved on the sidewalks.  I must admit I was always “moved”, many times to tears, to hear their frequent praisereports shared in church. The sheer enthusiasm exhibited by their countenance as they shared with us what God did, the lives spared, tears shed, the burden lifted from an emotionally mixed up mother now vowing to keep that precious child within her womb to term – I waited long enough.  I wanted be a witness to this. So on Saturday, December 10th our Pastor and several members met at the church, crawled into the church van and proceeded to one of these dark places in Charlotte where we would be praying for about an hour.  I was alarmed that here sat this non-descript building deep within the bowels of a business park. You would never guess that within this building, with no signage other than the street address, was a slaughterhouse where innocent human lives were being snuffed out in droves.
As my friend walked us around the “out of bounds” area they were allowed to minister from, I noted the prominent “No Trespassing signs” as well as the burly “Hired Thugs” that were “safeguarding” the entrance and exit of this house of horrors. They were loud and boisterous, occasionally turning up their profanity laced rap in an effort to drown out the people speaking by the entrance. I was taken aback by the sheer number of cars in the parking lot there must have been 50-60! I asked my friend, “Are these clients?” He sadly replied “Yes, it’s really busy today.”
I continued to witness the atrocity occurring and my heart began to break, some entering alone, others with companions, male and female. Then I witnessed a younger lady hurriedly walk to the entrance and by her side was a very young girl who looked to be no more than 11 or 12, I surmised was her daughter, head turned down and away, they appeared ill at ease by the passionate plea from the PA, “Please M’am!…Don’t go in! We will help you!”  Only to see them disappear as the door slammed quickly behind them. I fell to my knees shaken and cried out, “Oh God of mercy!  Enough!” Tears began to stream down my face. I was broken, aghast, disgusted that I live in a place and time that the sanctity of human life was esteemed so meaningless. Our Politicians spineless to stop this barbaric genocide! The church not doing what it is called to do either!  I was reminded of  2 Chronicles 7:14 – “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
I began to pray in earnest for these emotionally broken women offering their babies up to sacrifice in this temple of doom! As we boarded the bus to head back to church, we were in stunned silence as we left this place; I believe each of us with a higher appreciation for life. And higher respect of the valiant efforts of dedicated, compassionate Christians, faithful on the sidewalks, snatching from the clutches of satan, just one life at a time, with determination and faith. God  bless those serving in this worthy mission. There is a higher hope – His name is Jesus Christ."
Jimmy (Crossroads Community Church, Charlotte, NC)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Life is Precious! The Missing Link in our Home-Education: Community Service


Joy is the reason we committed to begin down this new path as a family.  But the education has been profound as well.

I met Lisa Metzger this past September at our children's homeschool Fun & Fitness class on the first day. The director introduced us when she learned I have ten children as she knew Lisa has nine--three adopted, six by birth, and seven in heaven (miscarriages).  But I quickly realized Lisa wasn't just another homeschool mom of a large family.  There was something very unique about her, and not just the fact she and her husband have opened their hearts and home to all the children our Heavenly Father will send them.  As we visited with each other I could actually feel the joy and peace coming from her heart.  I also noticed the bright countenances of her children. It took me several weeks to find out about the community service they've given for over two years, but when I finally did there was no doubt in my mind that it was a big part of their secret.
They now have #10 on the way!

Well, you guessed it:  For about the past month my family has been going with her family to the busiest abortion mill in town for a few hours each week. So far we have mostly just been learning from and observing their great courage to stand for truth and righteousness in the face of evil.  (Two other families are often there with us also.)  The first time Alisha went she told me she had never seen such a dramatic contrast between good and evil before. It is quite simply an amazing thing to witness.  Another daughter said going there has made her realize her own challenges are really quite small and insignificant. These are very valuable lessons, don't you think?

The following is my journal entry for this week:

We learn so much from our experiences at the abortion mill.  It's amazing how going there has brought the scriptures more to life for us! 

It was interesting, again, to see some of the male partners very anxiously waiting out front, nervously smoking their cigarettes. It's actually a very, very common scene there. I had never thought that abortion affected men too much, but if you think about it, those father's will also have to live the rest of their lives knowing one of their offspring doesn't walk the earth because of their "choice". So heartbreaking! Yesterday one of the partners was extra tense and disturbed (also common!) and came out to his car, popped his trunk and took at least 5 min. to hook up some bass speakers he had back there and started blasting very loud music with his sophisticated sound system at us.  Lisa was on the mic, and apparently said something that hit a tender spot as you could clearly see the pain and discomfort in his face and body language.  This surprised me a bit because she is a master at "speaking the truth in love" out on the sidewalk and is never harsh in tone. The hired security guards in the parking lot usually play loud rap music from their cars, but it was a cold and rainy day so the one there today (usually two) just sat in his car with the windows rolled up, but joined in with this one father for a few minutes, blasting music together. :))  The guards will also beep their horn repeatedly if a car stops and rolls down their window to talk to a sidewalk counselor to make it difficult for them to hear.  So isn't it eye opening how the "natural man/woman" will do whatever they can to muffle the truth speaking to their conscience (or to others)!?

Which reminds me, a car that did stop yesterday on their way in told Kaitlyn (Lisa's 12 year old daughter who was handing her a booklet with pictures of unborn babies at each stage) that she knew God was a forgiving God and that he would forgive her for doing this.  This is actually a very common line that we get from people since more than 80% fill in the required religion question on the paper work at the abortion clinic as "born-again Christian".  But then I heard Lisa on the mic teaching that the scriptures plainly state the consequences for rebelling against God with a full knowledge:  "I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of  blood." see Isaiah 1:15-17   Another very applicable verse I've heard there:  "I will not hear them in the time that they cry unto me for their trouble." Jeremiah 11:14

We are not allowed to step foot on the clinic's property, but when people get out of their cars near the sidewalk where we can stand, we call out, "Can we help you?" or  "You don't need to do this.", etc.  We called out to three young women getting out of a car near us and one of the girls said, "I'm not here for an abortion!" She was with her friend whom we later learned didn't want any permanent connection with the father of the baby. He had said if she kept the baby he wanted to be together to raise the child.  

Anyway, a while later this same friend came out of the clinic down to Lisa (who was on the mic) and said she didn't believe in abortion and wanted to help her friend. Lisa asked how far along she was and then showed a picture AND had her son pull out a little model of a 12 week old baby to take into the clinic to show her friend.  She also told her not to let them take her back and do the ultrasound as they would still charge her a large amount even if she didn't have the abortion. Back in this dear friend went.

Lisa had us all gather together and pray for the girls, which prayer my Andrew, 3 yrs., cut short after tripping and falling with an umbrella!! :-)  Thank Heaven,  a little while later the other friend came out and said their friend would like to have the free ultrasound at the Pregnancy Resource Center if Lisa would show them how to get there and go with them.  Lisa had told the first friend who had come out this free service was available and only four miles away.  Lisa said "yes" and out came all three of these young women from "the gates of hell", as Flip would say.  Yea!!! We learned that when she held and saw the model of the little 12 week baby she said "I can't do this." We also learned these young women were impressed by the fact that people were on the sidewalk with their young children on such a rainy, cold day! (All things work together for our good!) Sadly, they also said that people inside the clinic were "celebrating abortion".

And after seeing the ultrasound with a live, active little baby, she KNEW she couldn't do it and is seriously considering adoption.  So few of the mothers will do this as they somehow usually believe they are not "being responsible" for themselves if they give the baby to someone else to raise! Hard to understand...So many lives are blessed through adoption!

While Lisa was gone, Flip got on the mic. Thank goodness he had arrived maybe 30 minutes or so before. Flip is a protestant pastor who has been super involved with pro-life work for nearly 30 years.  He played a very large role in converting Norma McCorvy (the "Roe" in Roe vs. Wade!) to Christianity and bringing her over to the Pro-life side back around 1994.  Norma wrote an excellent book called "Won by Love" and tells all about her story and how Flip rented an office for his pro-life organization (Operation Rescue) next door to the abortion clinic where she worked.  I've just started reading it, but it is fascinating! Won by Love
Won by Love: Norma McCorvey, Jane Roe of Roe V. Wade, Speaks Out for the Unborn As She Shares Her New Conviction for Life

SO, it was just Flip, Kaitlyn, me and my children (minus Alisha) left on the sidewalk when another woman walked out of the clinic and came down to the microphone where Flip had been speaking.  I was on my phone telling Alisha about the first "save" when I saw her coming so I walked over to them also as I know it can help to have another woman there.  Prior to this Flip was doing great on the mic talking about how you don't know what this child could become some day...a doctor, a teacher, maybe even the President of the United States? That the child wouldn't be there to support them in their old age if they did this thing, etc., etc.  It was all great and spoken with tenderness.  

So she came down and said, "I don't want to do this."  He then asked the woman if she had other children and she answered "two". Then he asked if she had previous abortions and she said "no". (Repeat abortions are very common!) I then put my arm around her and all these big, beautiful tears began to instantly stream down her cheeks and onto her chest.  Oh, what a wonderful thing to see: a broken heart and contrite spirit at that place! (You see so much of arrogance and selfishness as well as devastation and sadness after the abortion.)  I told her I had ten children and that my friend, Lisa, had nine and that we would support her however we could, even if it's just to pray for her.  I also told her about how people supply a two-year supply baby shower. I asked her name and Kaitlyn had a pencil ready and asked her to spell it! Go Kaitlyn!! (It was a very tricky name.)  I showed her Lisa's name and cell number in the booklet and told her to call or text her. 

In the meantime the the "father of the child" had pulled up near us in the car and was yelling that she shouldn't talk to us and that we should pay him the $300 (that's about how much an abortion costs, so he must have already given the money or something. The clinic is required to give it all back, but maybe he didn't know?)  You could see she was unhappy with him and Flip told her she needed to get away from him.  She nodded and resolutely said, "Yes, I do." She also asked Flip if he had a business card as I'm sure she greatly desires fatherly, spiritual leadership in her life.  It's truly what most, if not all, of those women so desperately need, not to mention unconditional love!

Anyway, that is a bit of our amazing day!

"And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!" 
(Doctrine and Covenants 18:15)

[The day, however, didn't start off great as the sights below are what we saw upon first arriving at the mill. Lisa got these amazing and sad pictures. They tell much of the heart-breaking, cold, dark reality of abortion:]

Notice how this Stericycle employee hides his face as he takes the flattened boxes into the abortion mill. 
These boxes now actually contain the precious little bodies of the babies who perished at the clinic during the past week. This was the first time we were ever there to see them removed.  Notice how he hides his face and ducks his head in shame! He obviously saw the contents of the boxes...

Looks very heavy...
Still hiding...
Could the shame be any clearer than this?!

"Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God." 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fun Fall Family Photos!

Andrew and Jason as sweet as can be! Ahh I love this!!!

Alisha (15) with my two baby boys, Jason & Andrew (1 & 3 yrs.)!  They are just getting too big! Alisha has her driver's learning permit so is my chauffer wherever we go. She's taking AP Biology on-line and many other challenging distant ed courses. I'm pleased with her hard work and determination!
Spencer is growing up so quickly lately too and seems very mature for his age in many ways.  He is a great older brother!
It is such a beautiful time of year here right now! And the weather has been heavenly.  This horse is actually grazing on our property that we have leased out to our neighbors.

Jason's hair matches Lexi's hair, as you can see in the background!  Jason is such a bright, sensitive, enthusiastic young child.  He reminds me SO much of Kristine at this age (1 1/2 yrs.)!
Katie is always a delight to have in our home! I can't imagine life without her! She is so very caring, bright, unselfish and generous.
This is our Jason lion--matches his hair too! I
Julianna is my artistic, quiet, mature new twelve year old! She is a huge help at home!
Angela is a HUGE Jane Eyre fan and took the initiative to order (and pay for) this dress and then sew the shawl. She looked beautiful! She is turning 14 next week.  Yikes!  To say she is "smart" would be a huge understatement.  I think she has the vocabulary of a college graduate (at least) and is always reading or studying her school lessons. She is also huge help at home!

Michael (6) is a very sensitive young boy and having fun learning all his math facts right now.  He's making progress with his reading. He also loves his primary classes at church! Yea! 

They won "Most Creative" at our church party. Alisha was a "Southern Belle".  You gotta love young women who love virtue!

Here we're on a Sunday walk, heading for the trails past our next door neighbors beautiful horses!

I took this picture of Brooks for the Opera playbill last spring.  He's doing great and heading up to BYUI next semester. Yea! (Utah State doesn't have a music composition major.)
Kristine texted me this photo last weekend of her with Kirk Perry, my parents and sister after a ballroom dance competition.  She and Kirk enjoy dancing for fun (not too serious) and I'm happy we have family there to support them for us!!!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Live Not By Bread Alone

Dieter F. UchtdorfIf we could view our spirit the way we see our physical body I think we would take much better care in "feeding" it.  Is our spirit starving, hungry or famished? Does it look scrawny, perhaps withering away? Or is it robust, full and fat with truth, wisdom and love?

"But he [Jesus] answered and said, It is writtenMan shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."  Matthew 4:4 

After several weeks of being very much "on the go", (including a trip to Utah with my one year old baby), I found myself to be very hungry in spirit.  And then I was fed a most exquisite feast: I was able to tune into the last talk from the General Relief Society broadcast while home from church with a son who wasn't well. (I had seen the first three talks the evening before.) President Dieter F. Uchtdorf is from Germany, where we lived for a little over nine months when we had three young children.  We attended the English speaking ward there in Frankfurt, but shared the building with the saints of the German speaking ward of which Elder Uchtdorf (at the time) was a member.  I miss the great faith of the German members that we got to know while living there, but am SO thankful for this most strengthening and inspiring talk by President Uchtdorf.  If you haven't seen it yet, please watch and partake of a spiritual feast!

General Relief Society Meeting Highlights

And this weekend is another wonderful two-day feast. So eat up! (And with no regrets!)
Watch General Conference Live l LDS.org

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Top Eleven Reasons that We Homeschool

[Ok, so I actually stole this off Jennifer Georgia's blog, but I agree completely! For many more great resources from Jen, visit her site at The Georgia Times.  Scroll down and look for her lists and articles in the right hand column. -K]

11 - It’s Fun!  We can do all the fun things that happen at public school (field trips, band, orchestra, drama, art, choir, sports, geography and spelling bees, science fairs) with homeschool support groups, community groups, or (many of them) with the public school.  We can also do things that they can’t, like doing school on the trampoline on beautiful days.

10 - Freedom from bullying classmates, screaming teachers, classroom apathy, moral relativism, the homosexual agenda and the wacked-out environmentalist agenda taught in schools, bad language and inappropriate behavior in the halls, pornography, drugs, prostitution rings, pedophiles and kids with guns.

9 - Freedom to study what we want, when we want, take a family vacation whenever we want, and be around nice people of all ages, both LDS and not.

8 - Home schools are “Drug-Free Zones” - children with ADHD can run or bike around the block whenever they get antsy, children with Inattentive ADD aren’t continually distracted by 25 other children.

7 - We can incorporate our LDS lifestyle into our school.   We learn our own family history and LDS history as we study  world history.  Scripture Study, Personal Progress, Faith in God, Duty to God and Scout requirements are all a part of things we do for “school”.  We earn Merit Badges in our science co-op.

6 - We ALL learn together.  My education is just as important as theirs.

5 - Our children don’t develop peer-dependency, and aren’t impacted so much by negative socialization. 

4 - We can have the “butter and honey” (see 2 Ne. 17:14-15) instead of the mediocre and the foul.  Instead of studying  mind-numbing textbooks and reading morally-degrading assigned books, we can read the classics and can learn from the great minds of the past and present.

3 - We can teach true principles that are not politically correct, such as the proper role of government, free-market economics, true environmental stewardship that isn’t anti-human, and the principles found in “The Proclamation on the Family”.

2 - We can customize to the needs, wants, interests and abilities of each child.
1 - Family, Isn’t It About ... Time???

Three Homeschool Requirements
1 - You must be able to read.  

2 - You have to like your children (in addition to loving them).

3 - You have to be able to relax, be patient, laugh, and trust your children.

Three Non-Requirements
1 - It doesn’t take any more time than sending them to public school.  Think of all the time spent in transportation, class-helper assignments, PTA and other meetings, fund raisers, accompanying field trips.  Think of supervising the three hours of homework that people tell me their third graders come home with.  I spend 1 to 3 hours a day actually sitting reading to them, or doing  math, science, history, Spanish, Latin, or whatever else the day brings.

2 - It doesn’t have to cost a lot.  Private schools run $5000 to $15,000 per year, but you can have your own private school at home for free if you use the extensive resources available in the library and on the internet.

3 - No formal training in education is necessary, in fact, it seems to make homeschooling more difficult. 


Earlier is not better, complicated is not better, more is not better.

Structure time, not content (early years).

Help children set and achieve academic goals (later years). 

Enrich the environment.

Enjoy the journey, go with the flow.

School is life, and life is school.  There is no artificial division.

Encourage the child to make observations and generalize them to new things.

Reserve for the child the moment of discovery.

Avoid pushing the child into the “frustration zone.”

Children will reflect the social, educational and spiritual development that their parents possess, so be a good example.

OUR HOMESCHOOL GOAL - That our children leave the Georgia Academy as happy people with strong testimonies and self-confidence, who are academically prepared for any university course of study.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Why I Love Family Life

[A friend asked me to write about what I love about "family life" and this is my response.]

I have had the blessing of being part of a good family since the day I was born.  How my heart aches and wishes for that same opportunity for every infant coming into this world: to have loving parents and siblings who are seeking to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.  Where ever there is righteous living there is peace, love and joy.  Where ever there is self-centered living there is strife, anger and pain.  But I also know the atonement of Christ is real and through that power he will heal any and all who come to Him with full purpose of heart.

This being said, I don't believe there exists a "perfect family" anywhere out there.  We are on this earth to learn, grow and have experiences to teach us what our Heavenly Father knows we need to learn.  The Lord Jesus Christ was the only person to walk the earth who was completely perfect.  So we are either moving closer to that goal of becoming like our Savior or we are moving farther away.  Having a family that is striving with all its might to follow His example is an invaluable strength and gift to have in this journey of life!

I love family life because I can't think of any other way to refine my character faster and help me grow.  Is it an easy, painless process?  Of course not! Since when was anything truly worthwhile easy? But through working, living, struggling, laughing, praying, and studying daily as a family we can all progress closer to our Heavenly Father. And we learn the principle of MERCY is among the first to master in order to find joy in our family life: "For, if ye forgive men their trespasses your Heavenly Father will also forgive you; But if ye forgive not men their trespasses neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."   3 Nephi 13:14-15

Where else do you have more opportunities to "trespass" or "to be trespassed" than in family life? :) It is such an intimate and personal environment that there seem to be many chances for either giving or taking offense.  But there are also many more opportunities to love, to forgive, to bless, and to serve! It's simply not possible to live a truly satisfying, happy life by seeking our personal interests and wants all or even most of the time!  Self-centered life-styles simply go against eternal laws as our Lord taught:  "He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." Matthew 10:39

Another one of sweetest blessings we gain, especially as parents, is through service in the home to little children.  I've noticed that many in the world prefer not to do the work it takes to care for babies and small children.  After all, where's the glory? Where's the monetary compensation?  Or perhaps even, where's my sleep?! :) And the "work" is quite constant and demanding!  But it is among the most precious work we can do for all of these very reasons.  Another powerful, unchanging principle from the Savior:  "As ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." Matthew 25:40 

If we truly love the Lord with are our might, mind and strength we will rejoice in the opportunity to serve him in this capacity.  We will gradually be able to forget ourselves more and more and thereby be able to have more joy if our life.  But, you might be asking: Who will then take care of ME?!  I testify that as we put our whole heart and mind into serving Christ, He will take care of us FAR BETTER than we can ever take care of ourselves!  I have seen this over and over again as my husband and I have brought each of our ten children into this world and as we are trying to do our best to raise them.  We are still far from perfect, of course, but as I mentioned earlier, we must live by the glorious principle of MERCY and GRACE daily. A favorite quote relating to this principle from The Book of Mormon:

 "For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do."  (2 Nephi 25:23)

A FAMILY, with each member seeking to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, is like a lovely symphony or beautiful piece of artwork to be enjoyed by all who seek after things that are virtuous, lovely, of good report or praiseworthy. Articles of Faith 1:13