FARMINGTON — Last Christmas, the Farnes family received a surprise package that inspired them to write a book and encourage others to spend time with their families.
Ever since, Trevor Farnes and his three oldest children, Hallie, 10; Kenzie, 7; and Beckham, 5, have spent hours together bringing their idea to fruition.
"We got the gift from our neighbor. She had knitted these snowballs for us," Farnes said, explaining that the white, knit snowballs that were left on their doorstep were meant for the family to have an indoor snowball fight together.
"We kind of wanted to make a bigger deal out of it, so we had the idea to write a book. So I sat down with the kids, and that Christmas vacation, we spent an hour or so each day writing it."
The idea to write the book came from Farnes' children.
"We kind of come from an entrepreneurial family," Farnes said. "They're always thinking of different ideas, and even the kids are like that. They're always selling stuff on the street, whether it's lemonade or rocks."
"They're pretty creative when it comes to thinking of those things. They thought, 'Hey, let's write a story,' and then it was their thought that they don't have snow in Africa where their cousins are from — they were adopted from Ghana, Africa, — so they said, 'Let's write about them.’ ”
The family's book, titled "Snowball Fight in a Bag," features their cousins Kosi and Kwaku as the main characters. In the story, the brother and sister wish they could see snow, so their grandmother comes up with the indoor snowball fight idea. The Farnes family plans to sell the books and include a package of knitted snowballs with each copy.
A portion of the proceeds will be donated to help children living in Ghana pay for new school supplies and uniforms. Farnes said he was impressed with his children's desire to give back.
"We kind of talked about, 'What if we sell a lot of books and make some money? ' " Farnes said.
"And usually their quickest response was, 'Well, then we can help a lot of people in Africa.' I've been proud of them in many different aspects of what we've done but I think their response to what they want to do with it is pretty motivating and makes me a proud father to work for them, to help those who don't have what they have."
As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Farnes realized the importance of the time he spent with his family and hopes their project can help others do the same.
"For me, as a father, I am trying to play the active role in my children's life that I know my Heavenly Father needs me to play," Farnes said. "If nothing else comes from this, what I know will come from it is that our family has become closer. I have spent very valuable time with my children helping them to learn how to work toward a goal and to use their creativity and gifts that God has blessed them with to in turn bless the lives of others."
"This is what my faith is all about. Love in the family is spelled t-i-m-e, and we hope that our project gives families more time to enjoy life with each other."
With winter approaching, the Farneses hope that other families will be able to start their own indoor snowball fight tradition.
"I just know that time spent as families is the most precious time we have," Farnes said.
"Our hope is that other families will have the time together. In 'A Proclamation to the World,' it talks about wholesome recreational activities, and this is one of those things that is a fun activity and allows us to spend time and have fun and play with each other."
Funds are being raised for the production of the book "Snowball Fight in a Bag" on Kickstarter.
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