Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ammon's Baptism... the Small and Simple Things

For Ammon's baptism back on August 7, I got him a baptism memories book. I've tried several times to get him to write in it, but it wasn't until two nights ago, that all on his own, Ammon pulled out his book and sat down to write about his baptism. If there's one big lesson I need to learn with this child, it's that even though he does need some prompting and prodding, he really likes to do things on his own time schedule! Anyway, after reading his sweet remembrances, I did some of my own pondering. And now, the writing...

About a year ago, we took Ammon to a gathering called "Eight is Great," in which all the children who would be turning eight during the next year were taught about the importance of baptism and some of the things that they could do to prepare themselves. We walked away from the evening with a little booklet of activities that we could do with Ammon to help him prepare. I had all the best intentions... I did pull out the packet several times and we certainly talked a lot about baptism during the past year, but I also did not complete some of the things I'd wished to do before it came time for Ammon to make his decision. Therefore, when it got closer to August and his 8th birthday, I started to feel a little bit of stress. Did I help him really prepare? Does he understand the significance of such an important step? Does he have a strong testimony of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ? What if he decides that he doesn't want to be baptized?

Well, Ammon did decide to be baptized and it was a simple and beautiful experience for him and for me. I let go of all of my grandiose and magical expectations for my first child's baptism, and instead I realized that Ammon is an eight-year-old child and that he has an eight-year-old understanding of the Gospel and a beautiful eight-year-old testimony to go with it (when he wrote in his book what his feelings were after he received the Gift of the Holy Ghost, he described it in perfect eight-year-old terms: "My whole body felt like handwarmers" [I'm thankful for the inspired primary teacher who described the feelings that the Holy Ghost gives us in these terms because Ammon testifies that this is really what he feels]).

I also realized that this is but a beginning for him. He has entered the gate which will lead him back to his Heavenly Father (2 Nephi 31:17). This certainly does not make him perfect, just as I am far from perfect. We both need our Savior and His redeeming Atonement. We both need to plead for forgiveness when we make mistakes. We both need to make this part of our every-single-day lives. I've stopped stressing about whether I sufficiently prepared Ammon for his baptism. Instead, I feel grateful for inspired Church leaders who teach me the small and simple things that I can do with my family to assure that Ammon, and my other children as well, are prepared for life and its many challenges.

Sometimes, when I hear the giggling during a family prayer or the fights during Family Home Evening, or the apparent inattentiveness during scripture study, the natural man in me just wants to throw in the towel and call it hopeless (and I'll admit that I have done just this more than once). However, deeper within me is a strong and fast testimony that if I continue to make these small and simple efforts, my children will gain the firm foundation in Jesus Christ that will carry them through this life's many storms (Helaman 5:12).

Many small and simple things that happened before, during and after the baptism all added up to make it a perfect baptism day. The booming voice of Brother Franz teaching Ammon that his name was being recorded in Heaven twice on that day. The soft but sweet voices of all of Ammon's cousins (on the Zavala end) singing "When I Am Baptized." The inspiration that flowed when I prepared for the talk I gave. The wise words from Aunt Coyo telling Ammon to actually "receive" the Holy Ghost. The beautiful authority to act in God's name, the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood which Jacob holds and with which he was able to baptize and confirm Ammon. The support of all three of my sisters, their families, and especially my parents. The sweet words from a primary president testifying to Ammon that he is literally a child of God.

One more small and simple thing for which I am grateful: I was at Deseret Book about a month after Ammon got baptized and I bought a really cool plaque that now hangs on my my boys' bedroom wall.

I hope that it will serve them as a small and simple reminder of some very important ages and events in their lives. Eight - the age at which they can be baptized and make sacred covenants with Heavenly Father; Twelve - the age at which they can become holders of the sacred power to act in God's name, the Aaronic Priesthood; and Nineteen - the age at which they can become Elders in the Holy Melchezidek Priesthood and full-times missionaries who preach the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.

It continues to be the small and simple things that will help my children to reach these important milestones. It was a beautiful experience and blessing for me to see Ammon reach the first of these important steps.

I'm thankful to have a husband who was able to worthily baptize
our son with the sacred authority and power of the Priesthood.

My big little son.

I want to share my life with them through all eternity...

Ammon loved having his best buddy cousin, Isaiah, here from Utah.
Isaiah got baptized just one month later.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I'm Number One!!!

I won't go into details right now except to say that Ammon is testing me and we seem to butt heads a lot. Sometimes it makes me wonder just what he feels for me. My answer came while we were reading scriptures a few nights ago. He wouldn't participate and I was about to get mad because I thought he was just sitting there drawing. Something told me to just let him be. Thank goodness Jacob was on the same page because this is what he was actually working on.
1. mom
2. dad
3. brothers
4. sister
5. food
6. scriptures
7. roller coaster
8. Halloween
9. birthday
10. Star Wars

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Help

I read a really great book called The Help by Kathryn Stockett... and although I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a good read, it's not what I want to write about today. I've had what I'll call a little mothering paradigm shift and I want to write it down 1) so that I'll never forget these sweet moments and 2) because I'm sure that it won't be long before I'll need a reminder. What I want to write about today is the help that I receive each and every day as I go around doing my stuff.

Ziya's new favorite thing is to help me with whatever I'm currently doing. Whether it be cooking something in the kitchen, folding laundry, making my bed or scrubbing a toilet, she wants to be right there (actually, being there is not enough; she wants to be totally involved). She knows how to measure flour in a cup, lock and turn on the mixer, change laundry from one machine to the other, sort socks and pile them according to what room they will go in, and wash and dry dishes among many, many other things. The curious thing is that she'd rather be doing any of these things than playing with her dolls, puzzles, or any of her other stuff.

I love the way she carries her stool into the kitchen so she can reach things.
She does this at least five times each day.

My dilemma is this: she slows me down, way down. I found myself getting annoyed by this a few days ago (I felt like I spent the entire day in the kitchen with her on that particular day) and I was complaining to Jacob about it at the end of the day.

Still thinking about this, the very next morning, I purposefully woke up early so that I could make my bed and bake the breakfast muffins without any help. I did feel a little guilty about my stealthiness, but I thought it was worth it. Sure enough, my bed was made in a record two minutes and I didn't spill a single ounce of flour or make a huge sudsy mess in the kitchen sink. My new annoyance was that I couldn't help but feel guilty as images of my little "Z" popped in my head... her wriggly little body squirming around under the covers that she has jumped under "just one more time" and the cute way she holds the stool to carry it into the kitchen so she can reach things. Not only did I feel guilty the entire time I was working, I also found myself actually missing my help. I decided to add scrambled eggs to the breakfast menu just so she would have something to help me with when she came downstairs. And yes, one egg was splattered on the counter top... but I was o.k. with it.

This happened on Saturday morning. It's only Tuesday, but I've been a lot more patient with my help. I'm thankful for my help. I love my help. And even though there will still be times when I will ask my help to go and play so that I can get my stuff done, I hope to always appreciate and love my help.

P.S. I have thought about writing this post ever since Saturday, but I only had the one picture to post with it. So today I thought I would get a picture of my little help on her stool. By the time I remembered, Kenai had dragged this bucket of wheat from the pantry to the counter so he could wipe the counters for me. Now I have two helpers. I'm especially glad I've written this because now more than ever, I'm sure I'll need the reminders that this is a good thing, a really good thing!

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Just two more cute pictures of the partners in fun.