Oh my Hannah Montana there's so much to learn and to tell!!
Ok so, on Friday night we as a family went to our pre-baptismal interviews, met with a missionary we hadn't met yet to answer some qualification type questions. I'm sure it was a difficult thing to find a missionary anywhere in our stake that didn't at least know of our family since almost every one of them had been in our home at one time or another over the past few years. So, we each met privately with Elder Bartholomew (amazingly enough we hadn't met or ever heard of him or he us...so it was good.) and had about 15 minutes to share with him an opening prayer, answer some questions he had for us, listen to his testimony of gospel truths, share any testimony we may have, all wrapped up with a closing prayer then out to the relief society room for Sister Brownies......Yum!! Evidently, though I only know about the interview I had in detail, we all passed the questionaire and were deemed worthy and ready for baptism. Then, off to Walmart for white undies and a few last minute items before Saturday. Into bed a little late but all is well and things stay quiet.
Saturday morning, 0350 (yes that IS 3:50 AM!!) I'm up! I don't want to be up. I just simply can NOT sleep. I'm exhausted and my body aches after being up on my feet all week with my new job my right knee is killin me and I need to simply rest but my mind is headed 90 to nothin down the insomniac highway with no chance of changing course now. So, I sit. Finally about 30 minutes into my sitting on the couch desperately trying to nod off, I figure since I can't sleep anyway, I should make good use of the time and fold a load of laundry. Which of course turned into two and then three loads because once I got busy, there was just no going back to bed. During this time though, I had an opportunity to think about and feel out my thoughts. Through the quietness of our home I began to feel a growing peace and tranquility as I sat doing for others in my family my anxieties began to fade and finally they were gone.
Somewhere about time to wake everyone else up to go to the chapel for Conference I was finally able to doze falling asleep briefly on the couch next to my folded laundry piles. I may have slept for a very long time if my youngest son and little fireball of energy had not come into the quiet with his excitement and anticipation of playing his video game. Well, as he marched past me and the laundry to get to the television, he stepped on my foot waking me up and knocked a neatly folded pile of his sisters clothes onto the floor because they were in his way on the arm of the couch upsetting me greatly that he was so disrespectful of my hard work. Needless to say he was not able to play video games saturday morning and now the peaceful, hardworking mother of the Carris clan was tired, worn out, feeling unappreciated, and just generally annoyed before the day even really began. No time now for any type of peaceful reflection. Just time for a quick "Heavenly Father, Please help us make it to the chapel on time and in one piece. In Jesus Name Amen." No where did I mention in my prayer anything about my mood and that I was feeling extremely anxious with family coming in or that I was freaked out because family was coming and some people who shall remain nameless (Jared, Alyssa and Jesse) had been slacking all week on their chores so there were dishes that needed washing and floors that needed mopped, etc.... (kudos to Katlynn for actually doing hers everyday last week.)
Oh well, they were meeting us at the church anyway so here we go, get everything we need all together in one place and everyone up, dressed, and out the door all together with the things we need at about the same time. It was a bit crazy and I was a bit cranky but it all worked out and we all managed to get into the car with all the things we needed, no one fighting or being difficult and off we went to get to the chapel in time for conference to begin. We actually even made it a little early and before our family from out of state arrived. YAY!!
Brother Zander Hutchinson arrived with Brother Brody shortly before morning session began and we were all able to enjoy some donuts Brother Dean Williams brought (16 dozen...Yikes!!) for breakfast. They were delicious Southern Made donuts, a true Southern tradition. Before I realized it and after much giggling from pretty much everyone that saw him do it, I found out my seven year old son Jesse, whom I needed to be able to sit reverantly and quietly for conference, had eaten 5 glazed and 3 chocolate covered donuts which he now wore the evidence of all over his white church shirt as well as his hands and mouth. He was smiling ear to ear so proud that he, as little as he is, had managed to stuff himself with eight donuts. Boys are just so wierd. So, his sister cleaned him up a bit and conference began with Jesse sitting his little busy sugar buzzing self with Brother Dean Williams, the bringer of the the donuts. HA HA!!
We were about twenty minutes into the first session when our family arrived. Jessica, my husband's youngest sister and Yvonne, his mother, walked in and after their hugs and hello's were seated with the rest of us watching as church leaders talked and counselled us in matters close to our hearts and minds. It was a beautiful time to be had by all. Soon, the first session came to a close and it was time for all of us to change clothes and get ready to get wet. At our baptismal service, Bishop Sammy Moranto presided as opening prayer was said by Jessica Mae Zink, Song "i Need Thee Every Hour" was directed by Jesse Michael Carris, accompanied on piano by Brother Lyman Bahr, Sister Hillary Cardon gave a beautiful and insightful talk on Baptism I hope to remember the spirit of should I ever be asked to give such a talk. After Sister Cardon's talk we were baptized in this order ...Jason, and then Alyssa were baptized by Brother Zander Hutchinson who flew in from BYU to be part of the event. (He was one of the ward Missionaries who taught us in our home.) Then it was my turn followed by Jared and we were baptized by Jared Cardon of the Young Men's Presidency. ((or something like that. I'm learning the names of so many positions and callings it's hard to say for sure))
Once the waves were calmed and the mess of us were dried off and changed, we returned to the relief society room for a special hymn by Elder Palmer, a ward missionary that has been out to our home with the sisters. He sang a hymn his Grandmother Wanda West Palmer had composed called, "Help me to Follow Thee". Followed by a talk on the Holy Ghost by Brother Jared Cardon, shamefully I don't remember as much about his talk as I would have liked because I was a bit overwhelmed with my own feelings and a sweetness that seemed to flood my heart and calm my nerves. Then there came the confirmation of each of us as we received the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands of several of the Priesthood. Among them were Jared Cardon, Zander Hutchinson, Brother Golettz, Bishop Moranto, Pres. Jason R. Knox, MD,(< my boss), Pres. Merrill, and many others whose names slip my mind at the moment. Jason and I both felt a flood of emotion and tissue was required to sustain us through the event, even more so as we watched the confirmation of two of our precious children. With the confirmations done, we were then each welcomed into the ward individually and as a congregation we all sang "I Am a Child of God" accompanied by Brother Lyman Bahr and directed by Jesse Carris who was so cute and did such a good job. A very touching closing prayer was given by Sister Joy Wiechmann. As congratulatory handshakes and hugs combined with refreshments made for the end of our baptismal service and the beginning of the second session of conference. Wherein as new members of The Church we were eligible to sustain Pres. Thomas S. Monson as "Prophet, Seer and Revelator" and to sustain several other posts and offer our thanks to others. It was a wonderful day, a clean and pure day filled with the blessings and hope of a better future if we will only just keep the covenants made in it. But, the best part came Sunday morning....but that's a story for another day.
For all who read this, I'd like to share with you my testimony;
I am a Mormon, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I know that Jesus Christ lives and it is due to his suffering atonement that I now can have life everlasting.
I know that the Bible is the true and living word of God spoken of as "the stick of Judah" for the descendants of the Jews and that the truth contained in it is sufficient to lead them and guide them to the restored gospel given to the Gentiles through a young boy, Joseph Smith, in the form of the Book of Mormon "the stick of Ephraim", and that the two of them have become one in the hand of our God and Heavenly Father after the plain and simple truths in the Bible were removed during the great apostasy. I know that the famine for the Word of God on the earth as was foretold by prophets from the beginning of time occurred and that Heavenly Father designed for us a way home by restoring those simple and precious truths. I know that God is the same yesterday, today and forever so logically I can deduce that He has not left us on the earth alone but that He has given us a Prophet to counsel, lead and guide us according to His grand design. I know that if such a Prophet were to ignore the counsel of Heavenly Father and seek glory and honor for his own name that Heavenly Father would remove him. I know my Heavenly Father lives, that he communicates with His people through the five fold ministry and that His truth still marches on into hearts that search for His truth. I testify to you that just as I am a child of God, so are you, He loves you and desires joy and happiness for you NOT judgement, agony and pain. I leave these things with you in the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen.