We're grateful we have family in town and close enough to visit during the holidays! Outside games, walks, hikes, inside games, white elephant gift exchange, food, just plain ole' hanging out that's FUN!
I remember the day you were sitting in church, listening to a violin and flute play John Wyeth's Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, while tears were streaming down your cheeks. You leaned over to me and asked, "Mom, why do I feel like this?" I told you then that Heavenly Father was touching your heart, and that you were feeling the Holy Ghost.
Today you were baptized, and finished this ordinance by receiving the gift offered to us, the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Hunter did a beautiful job talking about the covenants you make when you're baptized. He quoted Mosiah 18:8-10, and said, "...and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light; Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?
Tanner did a wonderful job speaking about the gift of the Holy Ghost. I loved his comparison of the Holy Ghost to the voice of our Heavenly Father. He quoted from 3 Nephi 11:2-7: "And they were also conversing about this Jesus Christ, of whom the sign had been given concerning his death. And it came to pass that while they were thus conversing one with another, they heard a voice as if it came out of heaven; and they cast their eyes round about, for they understood not the voice which they heard; and it was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice; nevertheless, and notwithstanding it being a small voice it did pierce them that did hear to the center, insomuch that there was no part of their frame that it did not cause to quake; yea, it did pierce them to the very soul, and did cause their hearts to burn. And it came to pass that again they heard the voice, and they understood it not. And again the third time they did hear the voice, and did open their ears to hear it; and their eyes were towards the sound thereof; and they did look steadfastly towards heaven, from whence the sound came. And behold, the third time they did understand the voice which they heard; and it said unto them: Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name—hear ye him."
Your brothers love you dearly, and I'm so glad that all five of them were able to participate in your baptism. Your parents love you dearly as well. You are boy number six, and will be the one to finish our family legacy.
Porter's turn to do the baptizing!
Your white towel was a gift - sure helped in drying you off!
He came to earth, through a virgin birth
With angels to tend the way
In swaddling clothes he peacefully dozed
In the warmth of stable hay.
Mary kissed his brow, she knew somehow
This babe was heaven sent
She caressed his hand trying to understand
Feeling joyful, wonderment.
In the darkest of night shone a star so bright
It was seen as a Godly sign
That His son was come to all of Christendom
His light to eternally shine.
Shepherds and kings, with gifts and things
Came to worship and adore
For he was fulfillment, a holy embodiment
teaching life to be evermore.
"And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people."
The angel of the Lord was directed to visit shepherds in their fields, not the kings on their thrones, not celebrities on their iphones or twitter accounts, not athletes on their courts. That the humble folk of Bethlehem were chosen to witness the birth of the Savior provides us with that hope of and in the Savior that is inherent in the spirit of Christmas. We too probably would have been fearful if in those same fields.
Jarrod gave up a tenured associate professorship at Marshall University, and took a job with Tarleton State University instead. Being asked to help develop and lead the new coaching education program there are two of the reasons why they were so excited and are fortunate to have him as their new hire. He is looking forward to teaching "his" classes in 2015.
Amy Jo spent most of 2014 sorting, purging, packing, hefting, and shoving. She had no fears in her husband picking out her new home, or one son learning how to drive, She does fear her daughter's love of pink, phones, and all things tech, She orchestrated an Eagle Court of Honor, a missionary homecoming, a move across country, but thankfully no weddings.
Tanner finished his mission to Londrina, Brazil, leaving behind wonderful memories of those he loved and served, just in time to spend a week with his dad at scout camp in New Hampshire, and help us move. Going back to school at BYU after an excused absence for two years might be difficult. Beginning to date girls is probably harder. Living with his younger brother might be the toughest of all!
Hunter graduated from high school, put away money from his lawn mowing services, and spent his summer packing and moving, in between dates, playing golf, and eating. He joined his brother at the Y, is in charge of cooking and laundry, and joined the chess club, finance club, golf club, Texas alumni club, real estate club, and young Republicans club. Just for more food and fun ;-)
Porter began his junior year at a new and much bigger high school, made the basketball team, and took his toughest load yet including Calculus, Chemistry, and Physics. He's surpassed his older brothers in height, and next year will be working on his weight, getting a license, going on a date, and taking all those tests necessary for getting into college.
Cooper has become an 8th grade dedicated clarinetist, an enthusiastic weight lifter, a man of squats and iron, bulking up and trimming down, all in the name of athletics. He loves walking like an old man, and hobbling like an old lady. He's taking suggestions for an Eagle scout project, after his Life board of review, and looks forward to finishing this summer.
Sawyer is in fifth grade, and loves to fill his calendar with golf dates, basketball practices, cousins, scout camp outs, games, puzzles, library books, piano songs, baseball and phone calls. He does well at school, evidenced by receiving awards two months into the school year, and is quick to serve
Miller goes to school with Sawyer, rides the bus home with Sawyer, plays basketball outside with Sawyer, shares a bunk bed with Sawyer, golfs with Sawyer, goes to Cub scouts with Sawyer. Everything else he does with Breyer. He turns eight this month, and is looking forward to his brothers coming home and participating in his baptism.
Breyer overcame her fear of toilets, is still working on her fear of her bed. She believes in unicorns and mermaids, wants to marry Miller, is afraid of the dark and spiders, isn't afraid of chewing gum from your mouth, throws a mean bite and wishes for a fence so she can wish for a dog.
We're grateful for you and your friendships and love. "To express gratitude is gracious and honorable, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live with gratitude ever in our hearts is to touch heaven (Monson, 10/10)." May we reach towards heaven, with less fear, a little more in 2015.
I wanted to get a jump start on Mother's Day, and let everyone know how blessed I am, to have my mom. Mom, I think about you every single day, many, many times and can't wait to see you tomorrow! Love you beyond words! Hunter
"We are created as much from the dust of eternity as we are from the dust of the earth. Every one of us has potential we can scarcely imagine." Joseph B. Wirthlin
“We write to taste life twice once in the moment and retrospect.” Anias Nin
Here is my secret. It is very simple: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery
When we are filled with Love, we can make a profound difference. It's what we came to do. Ardeth G. Kapp
Men are what their mothers made them. - Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1860
In the end, the number of prayers we say may contribute to our happiness, but the number of prayers we answer may be of even greater importance. Let us open our eyes and see the heavy hearts, notice the loneliness and despair; let us feel the silent prayers of others around us, and let us be an instrument in the hands of the Lord to answer those prayers. Dieter F. Utchdorf
I want to be the kind of Mom that would remember to get the broken Wheezy off of the shelf, fix his squeaker, and put him back in the toy box, having hope that my boys will still want to play.
11 out of 12 original astronaut corps (89%) who have walked on the moon have been an Eagle Scout