Monday, July 18, 2016

Our Eternal Family~

It Started With Two - (Roger and LeAnn) ~
We then added six - 
First 3 boys - Youngest, James, Travis and Sean (Dad and Mom)
 Then three girls -  Oldest - Christina, Jenni and Tiffani 
It suddenly became twelve -
James and Amber, Travis and Amanda, Sean and Mary (Dad & Mom) Christina and Brandon, Jenni and Michael, Tiffani and Dave~
Our Oldest son Sean and Mary with all of their children which added even more~
 Jessica, Lilly & Myah, Jed and Jadyn, Joseph, Jackson and Joshua (Mary &Sean). Jeffery, Gillian; Jonathan, Jacob, Dana and Sagan~
Back row - Grandchildren with Great Grandchildren -  Jessica, Myah and Jed - 
Front row - Lilly and Jadyn~
Grandchildren and Great Grandson; Jacob and Dana with Sagan~
Our second son Travis and Amanda  with their eight children - Austin, Kason, Karli, (Amanda & Travis), Justice, Ryley and Ethan - Front row; Haven and Layton~
Our third son, James and Amber with their three children -
 Christian, Amber with Averi, James and Taylor Jo~
Our oldest daughter Christina and Brandon with their five -
 Faith, April, Brandon with Levi, Christina, Sariah and Abbey~
Our second daughter Jenni and Michael added three - 
Alyssa, Michael with Benjamin, Jenni and Emma~
Our youngest daughter Tiffani and Dave with their 4 more children -
 Sarah, Tiffani with William, Dave with Kaitlyn and Michael~
 We now total 51 with one more little one in Heaven; our Jesse. This is our forever family~

I am so thrilled that we were able to get all of these photos. I have waited for a long time to have us all together for a large family portrait. 
When we started out with just the two of us we would never have imagined that we would have multiplied to 52. We feel so graterful for each and everyone of our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren that make up our posterity. 
We believe that our family is an eternal family. We are not a perfect family but we are a loving family. We do care about and for one another. We have all had our ups and downs in family life and we have had many trials that have at times been hard to bare. 
When those troubling moments have come we have pulled together and made it through them. Our faith in our Heavenly Father and our loving Savior have been the stability of our family life. We have had many miracles and know that we have been blessed through the eternal covenants that we made in our temples and for the faith that we have in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. We know that our Heavenly Father loves all of His children and blesses them as He has blessed us. Families are the greatest place for us to learn and grow in life experiences.
“Marriage and family life are ordained of God. In an eternal sense, salvation is a family affair. God holds parents responsible for their stewardship in rearing their family. It is a most sacred responsibility.” Ezra Taft Benson
Here you can read "The Family - A Proclamation To The World" by the THE FIRST PRESIDENCY and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Family Reunion Moments - June 2016~

Since we are full time missionaries for our Church, we had to request permission to attend our Family Reunion this year. Our children agreed to have it near-by so that we could come. Permission was granted and we spent three glorious days with all of our posterity. There were 51 of us; 6 children and spouses, 31 grandchildren, two married with spouses and 4 great grandchildren.
Our children began arriving on Friday, June 17th and the last one left on June 28th. Our three daughters and their families arrived three days before the reunion. They traveled from Washington, Arizona and Australia. We had all three families totaling 18 individuals with us until we left for the reunion in Midway, Utah on Tuesday, June 21st through June 24th.
 After the reunion we had three of the families with us for a few more days as we again started back doing our missionary endeavors. 

Here are some photos of the weekend before 
the reunion with our daughters and their families.  

Here are family photos of the three families that were here for Father's Day - June 19th
Upper Left - Our middle daughter Jenni's family; Michael, Jenni with Emma, Alyssa and Benjamin. 
Upper Middle - Our oldest daughter Christina's family; Abbey, Sariah, April and Levi, Faith, Christina and Brandon. Upper Right - Dad and Mom with Sammy. 
Lower Left; Michael and Jenni.  Lower Middle - Our Youngest daughter Tiffani and her family; Sarah, Dave, Tiffani, Michael with William and Kaitlyn - Lower Right; Dave and Tiffani~ 

More Photos of our  Father's Day Celebration - We attended our Sabbath day meetings, visited, played games, and just enjoyed one another.We had a marvelous time.~
On Monday, June 21st, we celebrated our granddaughter Sarah's 15th Birthday. We did some shopping, baking and good old birthday celebrating. We enjoyed being able to  celebrate with Sarah; this doesn't happen very often since they live in Washington. 
Sarah is the beautiful young woman in the middle of the above photo~
The first official day of our Reunion was June 22nd, 2016 - We spent a few hours at a park with a pavilion. The children enjoyed water sports, games and other activities. Of course, there was lots of good food, laughter, visiting and fun. 

In the evening we drove up a canyon and had family photos taken. It was a fun event. Everyone visited and waited for their families' turn for a photo take. It went very well and the photographer was great. 
The photos below are pictures we took while waiting. 
There are various groups of grandchildren and other moments we captured. 
Upper Left; Sariah, Jackson and Justice; ages 18-21 - Upper Middle, our 17 year olds; Michael,Joseph,Christian, Austin and sweet April - Upper Right. our 12- 13 year olds; Kaitlyn, Alyssa, Averi, Faith and Karli - Middle Left, our 15 year olds; Ethan, Taylor Jo, Sarah, Abbey and Jonathan - Middle Center, 17 year olds - Middle Right, our 8-10 olds - Lower Left; Sarah, Taylor Jo, Abbey and Emma - Lower Middle; our 8-10 year olds; Ryley, Emma, Kason, Levi, William - Lower Right; my daughters and me; Christina, Jenni, Mom(LeAnn), Tiffani

After family photos we returned to the ward building and held a Family Devotional.This was one of the sweetest moments of the reunion. My husband and I changed into missionary attire (suit & dress) and spoke to our posterity. It was a profound spiritual moment. We felt a bit like Lehi and Sariah in Lehi's dream as they stood before the Tree of Life, beckoning their family to come and partake of the Fruit; which represents the love of our Savior and His Atonement. I gave a message on how much our Heavenly Father loves each one of us and desires that we all return back to Him someday. He loves every one of His children that have been born on this earth. He desires for them to come unto Christ. I then testified that Heavenly Father loves and blesses families and we feel He has truly blessed ours. 
My eternal companion then bore a powerful testimony of the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the Prophet Joseph Smith. He then related the First Vision given to the Prophet Joseph Smith. The feelings in the room were spiritually tangible.  
We then both testified of the truthfulness of The Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is my favorite book and can lead one to Christ more than any other book. It is a powerful book testifying of Jesus Christ and of his appearance to the ancient inhabitants of the Americas as found in 3 Nephi chapters 11-28. 
We brought 42 copies of the Book of Mormon and asked family members to highlight a favorite scripture and mark it and place a pass-a-long card there.  We plan to place these copies with people we meet during the balance of our mission. 
Following those moments, our grandson Jackson, who just returned from a two year mission in Omaha, Nebraska, shared some of the wonderful experiences he had inviting others to come unto Christ. He too bore his testimony of the Restoration of the Gospel and The power of The Book of Mormon. 
The next day we went back to the ward building and had a wonderful lunch. We then had a fun talent show. It was kind of an impromptu moment and those that performed were awesome. The rest of us clapped a lot. 
Benjamin, age 6 played the piano. He has never taken lessons but did so good. Emma, age 10 did a chalkboard drawing. Christian, age 17, played the guitar. Sariah, age 18 played a piano arrangement. Abbey, age 15 performed an improvised dance performance. William and Levi threw paper airplanes and we didn't get Levi in the picture. Michael, age 17 played a improvised Trumpet piece. Then the granddaughters, ages 9-17 sang the song; "Families Are Forever". 
Sariah at the piano with Abbey, Kaitlyn, Alyssa, Karli, Taylor Jo &Averi,
 Faith & Emma, April and Sarah singing.

For most of the nights there we had 5 of our Grandsons stay with us. They are 15 - 17 years old. Each morning my kind companion fixed them really good breakfasts.  We loved being with these grandsons and they didn't keep us up at night at all! They are our next group of missionaries. 

                         Left photo; Austin, Joseph and Christian - Right photo; Michael and Ethan ~ 

After the lunch and program part of the group went swimming at the Condos we stayed at. Thirty of them left to go Zip Lining in the Provo Canyon. We followed them down there later. Some of those with us also decided to do some Zip Lining when we joined the group. We later had a family barbecue.
Here are all the fun photos of the Zip Line Activity. Everyone that was brave enough to go enjoyed it. I wasn't one of them. I did enjoy taking the photos, however. 
Here are the photos of two of my Grandchildren and Three of my Great Grandchildren. This was a little Zip Line that they had fun going on. 
Upper Left; Sagan, Great Grandson - Upper Middle; Layton, Grandson -
 Upper Right; Haven. Granddaughter -
 Lower Left; Lilly, Great Granddaughter - Lower Right; Jadyn, Great Granddaughter ~

We concluded our three days of activities with a barbecue and a fireside devotional. Our son, Travis gave a message on an experience he had on his mission when he heard a voice tell him and two companions that were with him to move their car. A few moments later there was an accident and they would have been killed if they hadn't obeyed that voice. He then bore his testimony. It was a dynamic closing to our family events. We ended this family event with a beautiful prayer given by our Son in law, Michael. 
Here are some of the photos of the goodbye moment when we got home from the reunion. Our daughter, Christina, Brandon and their family had to pack up and head back to Australia. It was so hard to say goodbye to them all. 
This family reunion was marvelous and we had so many lovely moments with one another. All of the grandchildren bonded well together and everyone seemed to have an enjoyable time. 
We had prayed hard before this reunion that we could have a peaceful, spiritual, and fun time with our family. We prayed that Satan would have no influence upon our family activities. We felt that our prayers were answered. I know beyond doubt that Heavenly Father Loves and Blesses Families. He certainly blessed ours. 

Sunday, July 3, 2016

May God Bless America ~ Happy 4th of July!

I love the  America. I know that it is a blessed land. I have always loved reading about the history of the United States of America. We have fought long and hard to be free to make our own decisions and to assist others throughout the world to be free. So many have lost their lives for this great country in defense of freedom. 
Right now our nation faces many critical decisions and I pray we will try with all our hearts to find and support good leaders who will keep the freedoms that we now enjoy.
 May we recognize the importance of the Constitution of the United States and the Declaration of Independence. May the blood of many not be wasted by poor decisions made by the leaders of this marvelous nation. 
 One of my favorite Prophets of these last days is President Ezra Taft Benson. When Pres. Benson was an Apostle, he married my husband and I in the Salt Lake Temple. 
Two years later we were invited back to his office to visit with him. He was a great patriot. He served under Dwight D. Eisenhower as Secretary of Agriculture. His office had many items that showed his love for this great country. Here is a few quotes from him.
"I say to you with all the fervor of my soul that God intended men to be free. Rebellion against tyranny is a righteous cause. It is an enormous evil for any man to be enslaved to any system contrary to his own will. For that reason men, 200 years ago, pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor. 
No nation which has kept the commandments of God has ever perished, but I say to you that once freedom is lost, only blood-human blood-will win it back."
 "It’s a great blessing to live in America. It’s a great blessing to have the opportunity to enjoy the freedoms which are ours today. I have seen people, thousands of them, who have lost the freedom which is ours, where they can no longer meet, as we meet here this morning, and express themselves as they see fit, where they no longer have freedom of movement, freedom to select their own jobs, their own educational opportunities, freedom to speak their minds, to write what they wish – freedom of enterprise. In many parts of the world today these rich blessings of freedom no longer exist."
"I testify that America is a choice land.(See 2 Nephi 1:5.) God raised up the founding fathers of the United States of America and established the inspired Constitution.  (See D&C 101:77–80.)This was the required prologue for the restoration of the gospel. (See 3 Nephi 21:4.) 
America will be blessed land unto the righteous forever, and is the base from which God will continue to direct the worldwide latter-day operations of His kingdom.(See 2 Nephi 1:7.)" 
"May we pledge anew that the divine principles embodied in the divinely inspired documents that govern our country be written on the tablets of our own hearts. I pray that our eyes might be single to the will of God, that we might thereby bless our families and our country and that we shall, with increased devotion, work for less government, more individual responsibility, and, with God's help, a better world." 
"I reverence the Constitution of the United States as a sacred document. To me its words are akin to the revelations of God, for God has placed His stamp of approval on the Constitution of this land [D&C 101:76–80]. I testify that the God of Heaven sent some of His choicest spirits to lay the foundation of this government, and He has sent other choice spirits — even you who read my words — to preserve it."
You can read more quotes form this marvelous man here.

by Genie Keller
I was born in 1776 on the 4th of July
Amid strife and the burning question of, why?
My aim to succeed in every way
To Bless my people with hope everyday.
My every word took a solemn beginning
The anticipation of futures and also of winning.
I was written with skill from far above
With meaningful words, blended with love.
The pattern was struck into every mind
To explain what was there for all mankind.
The Truth of the Right belongs to all men
To protect it and Guard it, secured to the end.
Now with hope in our hearts and the will of the state
With life, liberty and pursuit of happiness,
OR, our fate
I pledged to each person, the promise of peace
For Loyalty and Independence never to cease.
I wrote to protect us in all of our Rights
And grant us much strength through out all of the nights.
My moments of blogging have been few but I do love reading your posts as I can.  We recently had a marvelous Family Reunion. I am currently working on a blog post to show you photos about the fantastic adventure we had with all of our 50 children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. 
Sending love and hugs your way!   


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