good life with rhonna farrer
Part of cultivating a good life is knowing who you are.
Growing up I was teased about my size — a tiny 4’10”. I struggled with the teasing and would come home from school feeling bad about it. My mom reminded me how lucky I was to be the exact same size as my granny! As I watched her and how she loved, laughed, and was filled with confidence, I realized I come from a wonderful line of tiny people. As I studied my ancestors, I found many of them were small and mighty. They did amazing things in history and left a wonderful legacy of power, love, light, and faith.
I decided at a young age to make this be my motto: I may be small, but I am mighty! As a mother, I wanted to pass this optimism, confidence, and love to my own daughters. Life can be rough for young girls and as they grew up and went through the bumps in the road of junior high and high school life, I reminded them of their granny and great granny. Together we saw that life still has its bumps in the road, but knowing who we are can help us to cultivate a sweetness in life even during the trials. Generations of small but mighty people helps us to feel the strength and power in the love of family.
A couple of years ago, I listened to Wendy Watson Nelson speak at BYU Women’s Conference. What she said changed my life. She invited us to take her 21-day challenge to do some kind of family history work everyday. Like most women today, I feel like there’s never enough time to do what I need to do. When my children were younger, I would pack my schedule so tightly that there wasn’t much breathing room. As the years went by, my health started to fail. I was forced to stay in bed much of the day because I literally couldn’t move. I suffered from physical pain, and as a result, suffered mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I would painfully drag myself out of bed to function and be with my family, but I didn’t feel very successful in this attempt. I wasn’t feeling the sweetness of life. I was struggling.
The 21-day challenge came at a time in my life where I was desperate for a change. I wanted to feel the sweetness of family life. I couldn’t continue like this, but I also couldn’t figure out how I could find more time to do what I felt I needed to do. Deep down I knew I needed to learn more about who I am through family history, but did I have the faith? This would take more time! Between being a wife, mother, holding demanding church callings, and running my own business, logically it just didn’t seem possible. How could I take time every day?
FAITH! I decided I was going to try this out and I prayed to know what it looked like in my life to do family history. I can testify that my ancestors were helping me — from having the desire to change, to seeking the sweetness they knew I could feel, to connecting my hearts with them and feeling the ties that bind. Now, I’m on my phone a lot with my business and when I realized I could do family history work with technology on my device, I was hooked! I learned little by little, day by day.
I didn’t want the 21 days to end. I was feeling the power of my ancestors in my everyday life and the promised blessings began to flow in my life. Physically I was led to doctors who could help me and I’m healing. Emotionally and mentally I met people who taught me how to do family history. I recognize this is a direct blessing from the Lord. Spiritually, I began to see the scriptures in a way I’d never known and my testimony of the Savior grew into a very personal relationship. My understanding and reverence for the Atonement has carried me and I feel His power in my life daily as I seek to access it! Life was sweet! And you know what? I feel like I have MORE TIME!
Family history work has become my secret source of more time! When I make the sacrifice of time to the Lord by increasing my time in this great work, I have found I have enough time to do the things I need. I have come to call this my “family history time tithe.” It’s much like a financial tithe. We give a percentage to the Lord and He blesses, multiplies, and provides just what we need. This is just how “time tithe” has worked for me. I have found that as I give a percent of my time in my day, the Lord blesses, multiplies, and provides me with the time I need — not necessarily the time I want. And that’s OK. It’s sweet!
I’ve received all this protection, power, and more! My physical body is healing. My emotional and mental health is invigorated. My spirit feels more powerful as I feel the Savior’s Atonement in action in my life & see the correlation between my commitment to family history work. As I have been doing family history work, I have felt the power to do that which I need. As I pray to know what I can be doing, I’ve learned that everyone can be involved, but it will look different for everyone.
Knowing who I am has my heart connected with my ancestors. I love learning who I am through photos, stories, and memories. This is how I connect to my ancestors. Reading their stories of how they got through hard times and still cultivated a life of sweetness. Identifying with those who came before me has given me a strength I wanted to pass on to my children. So I asked myself How does family history, technology, and learning who we are look in our life? I prayed about what to do as we have teens and young adults. I realized getting to know our ancestors on an individual basis was the key to knowing who we are, from where we came.
So how do we do that? We search for photos and stories to really get to know them. We have been using the web-based app called “All The Stories” that connects to FamilySearch and collects all the stories that have been shared in the global family tree — 7 generations! We have hundreds of stories that we have learned to love. We took that 21-day challenge and we have been reading one story every day. As we read them together as a family, we feel connected to these people. We have more love, more life, more light, and more time in our lives. We can imagine ourselves doing some of the same things because we are so much like them.
It’s been an amazing blessing in our life to search the photos, stories, and memories of our ancestors to learn who we are and from where we come. Though my granny has passed on, her example to me of being small but mighty has helped me to teach my children and together, as a family, we are cultivating a life that is full of sweetness because we know who we are! Thanks to our ancestors and the stories of their lives.
a note from becky
I don’t think I know another woman in that small of a package who packs as much punch as Rhonna! She is very much indeed small + mighty … and I LOVE how she has connected these wonderful attributes with those of her ancestors. I know a lot of people who love family history (hello, I’m one of them) … but Rhonna’s absolute PASSION for family history is incredible! She is inspiring people in so many ways, even beyond family history. And it’s remarkable. Rhonna is remarkable. We’ve rubbed shoulders over many, many years. We have the same app developer (love you, Devin!). We both have a passion for using social media and technology to do GOOD in this world. And if you’ve ever met Rhonna in person, you know that she pretty much lights up the room in her part-firecracker, part-sweetheart sort of way. I love this woman.