It is HARD to sit down and type at the computer today because I am floating so HIGH off the ground.
The service for the baptism was the most beautiful I have ever been to. There were some snags. Thursday night Chris learned I could talk on ANY gospel topic instead of just baptism and so he urged me to say whatever was in my heart. Friday was so full with getting the house ready and grocery shopping for the Potluck and other preparations--plus the arrival of our friends and enjoying their company and young children-- I didn't sit down to write until about 10:30 and at midnight I gave up and just shut the computer down.
The baptism was at 10 am, so in the morning we were up and 'at 'em. Max, Chris, and Gaye took most of the potluck stuff to the church and plugged in the crockpot and hung out to greet people with the missionaries. I took the twinkies to the grocery store to pick up dh's cake and get a few more 2 liter bottles of drinks. Our friends went over to one of the local hotels to pick up another dear friend who had arrived from Ohio and they met us at the church, too.
Approximately 70 members of the ward, including some of their children, were there. Plus either the missionaries or Relief Society or SOMEONE had already set up all the tables in the cultural hall. My friend from Vermont, Sarah, and her mother (from Ohio) had both attended my baptism. So we had asked Sarah to give the invocation. I felt warmth on my head and was calmed while she spoke. There's no other way to describe it, but all the worry about getting everything done just melted away. I have to say I was blessed to not think about work ALL DAY.
We sang "Because I have been given much," and then I bore my testimony. It went fine. I don't know what I said but everybody cried and said it was perfect later. Everybody cried through the whole service, honestly. Brother Penn gave a terrific talk on the Holy Ghost. We all crammed into the area where the baptismal font is. The tiny little room seemed to stretch and make room for everyone. The Bishop baptized Chris and when Chris came back up my twins laughed with joy--I hadn't thought to tell them to stay quiet during the baptism--they're normally good at being quiet when they're supposed to be quiet, but they are very happy little people and laugh often and easily. But it was okay. It was so clearly a laugh of delight.
We returned to the chapel and Bro. Penn opened the mike to testimonies. Four people spoke and they were sooo wonderful. One speaker talked about the joyous memories the occasion brought back for him as his wife had joined the church during their fourth year of marriage. He talked about what that day had meant to them and the good things that had happened within his family since then. Another speaker talked about his reaction to hearing the twins laugh. A third speaker talked about a recent experience she had had with hearing the Holy Ghost during a time of need. The fourth speaker (Sarah's husband, Justin) spoke about the way his love for the scriptures has grown since his conversion a decade ago. (He knows Chris struggles with the language in the scriptures, but also knows Chris is determined to get past that.) Chris and the Bishop returned at this point, so the Elders' Quorum president gave a talk welcoming Chris to the Elders' Quorum, and that was fun because he got to have some fun with the fact that Chris had been attending regularly for some time now.
We sang, "Come Follow Me" and Max gave the benediction. He did great. There was much hugging and congratulating and more tears and then we set up the food, fed everyone, visited, told stories, enjoyed each other's company, and smiled a lot. I was really glad Gaye was with us. She had a good time and I could NEVER have done a good job telling her exactly what it was like. You really had to be there.
I was really glad I'd gotten the full sheet cake, LOL! Anyway everyone helped clean up and we went home with our out-of-town friends. At the potluck other members of that same family joined us, and so now we had 9 members of that family. We went back to our house with my mom-and-law and visited for the rest of the afternoon. Sarah and I made dinner for Chris's 38th birthday and we grown-ups stayed up late talking. (Somewhere in there I washed the kids' Sunday clothing so they could wear them again to church today.) Happy Birthday, Chris!
This morning we got up and got dressed again. We'd had freezing rain, so Justin struggled, but somehow managed to get his car packed up in spite of a layer of ice everywhere. I had given Chris a leather quad as a birthday/baptism gift, which meant I got my scriptures back (he had swiped mine many months ago, but it's not like I was going to insist he give them back, LOL.). It didn't last long. Max took them to Sunday school. Maybe if Santa brings him some scriptures, too, I'll get to keep mine. At any rate, we got to church on time. Everyone was still feeling the glow from yesterday. It was like no time had passed since the baptism. They confirmed Chris a member, and bestowed upon him the gift of the Holy Ghost, and then the ward sustained Chris as a member of the ward. Then they proposed that the ward sustain Chris as a priest and we did that. (Max loved that. Oh, heck, *I* loved that.) Then we sang the Sacrament hymn and the Sacrament was blessed and passed. Chris then bore his testimony, beginning with the fact that never had bread tasted so sweet.
And then Chris joined us back in the pews and the rest of meeting was a sort of ordinary Christmas Season Sacrament meeting. A violinist and a pianist did a special music piece and there were two brief talks and then it was time to say Goodbye to our Vermont Friends. (They had stayed to witness and participate in the Confirmation.) I hope they made it back safely home. I did a few things for my calling, then joined Chris in Gospel Principles. Interestingly, I'm not fond of being called on to give any of the opening or closing prayers because I just get so nervous, but noone else offered to close, so I did. And as I walked in the door of Relief Society, I was immediately pounced upon to give the opening prayer by someone to whom I couldn't say no, LOL. So I did.
After Relief Society, we rounded up the boys and met at the Bishop's office to witness Chris being ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood.
Who knew this day would come? But it did and it is sooooo sweet.
When I got home from church though, I lay down next to Chris on the couch and didn't wake until four hours later. I was tired!!