From a blog post dated January 2010

We worked on our Family Mission statement tonight for Family Home Evening, which was fun, and so funny. We have tried for years to write a Family Mission statement and always get a good start, but nothing that sticks. We have tons of ideas and they are hard to narrow down, or everything seems too cliche, or it is already taken by someone we know (not that there are hard fast rules about that. We just wanted something that feels individual to our family). We are determined this year to have one. We started out by explaining what a Family Mission Statement was, and I thought that the kids were really grasping what it was. We started the brainstorming session and were on a good roll with some really uplifting ones to choose from.
  •  We will Return Home Together
  •  Building Our Heavenly Home
  •  Home is where we want to be
  •  Homeward Bound

Then the Family Mission statement got a little confused with a sign that may hang outside the front door. It then turned into:

  • Carnivores and Herbivores welcome
  • Friend or Foe are welcome
  • No eating Family Members
  • We hope our ties will be together forever (Austin had just been tying up the girls with his new ropes, so I think tying was on the mind)
  •  We stop for everyone
  •  Starbuck table for 8
  • We will return to our Heavenly home To Get Her (together)
  • We want the comfy chairs (This one was a play off of one our friends have and I have loved for years. "No empty chairs". It comes from a song by Orrin G. Hatch and Music by Janice Kapp Perry about not having any family member left out when we all get to heaven.) We decided that we not only wanted no empty chairs, but we want the celestial ones that were really cozy and soft. It was funny, but seemed to lose the spiritual tone we were hoping for, so it got vetoed off the list.
  • Free Refills-of love, time, and whatever else you need

 By the end we were laughing so hard, and were still undecided about one. 

We have come a long way since that blog post almost four years ago. We have added two more chairs to our crazy mix, have built and moved to a new home, and have made a lot of fun memories along the way. And..we even managed to finally make a mission statement for ourselves too. We eventually came to decide that "No Empty Chairs" would be our mission statement.

It's crazy to me that sometimes even when we are all around, I feel like it just isn't a lot of people. I know I must probably be the only one on the planet that feels like 10 isn't a lot. Maybe it's that feeling that I have had for several years when I knew that there was still another little munchkin waiting to come to our home, and the feeling has just stuck ever since. That feeling though reminds me often how sad it would be to have that feeling forever-to feel like someone was missing. To feel like there was a chair that was forever empty. 

It inspires me to try my hardest to be the best mother I can be. To teach my kids to be kind, loving individuals who the Savior would be proud of as He watches them become the most amazing people they can be. It helps us all remember that we are a family. We are in this together, we are here on earth to learn and grow and love-together. That together part some days becomes my biggest struggle and I feel a little nuts as I try to hold it all together. Other days the feelings of pure joy that come from that togetherness seem to just overcome me and it brings me to tears.

Every day it makes me feel so indebted for all that I have. I love my life. I love the crazy chaos that is our normal. I love the sticky fingers that leave fingerprints on my walls and dirty feet that run across my newly mopped floor. I love the silly dances and screachy singing voices that echo through the house. I love the family dinners that always seem a bit too loud and messy for most others. I love the curlies, the straights, and the mediums alike! (a little inside joke I need to blog about soon). I love the music that blares in the car as we all sing along and the screams of laughter that fills the hallways of our home. I love the big hugs and warm kisses. I love the sweet glances from my sweetheart from across the dinner table. I love the loud voices and quiet whispers that all remind me of the love that seems to spill out of every crevice of this home. I love being here and being loved by those 9 other people that make up thestarbuck{family}.