I can only think the absolutely only thing that would've made this January better would have been if my daughter Larin and her family could've been with us. The Knapp Family was really "snowed-in" all airports and roads closed around Laramie, Wyoming. But, it didn't keep her from our new technology having "face to face" time on our large Ipads and Tablets.
|My Steve is Holding an Ipad with Larin. Back Row second from the right|
We started our year by inviting Kiely and Matt to come to California because the dorm at college was closed and needed maintenance. They both had been staying with my son-in-law's, family all through Christmas break, so we thought maybe they could be down here for a special time when my other daughter, Bree and her family decided to come to Santa Paula from a little town north of North Little Rock, Arkansas for Jane's 8th birthday. Jane wanted to be baptized in California with all the family and with her family and both sets of her grandparents, great grandmothers, and aunts, uncles, and her dear cousins.
Susan, Bree's new little baby girl, also was to be "given a name and a blessing" here in Santa Paula. I almost can't express my feelings of the day. The feeling of joy filled my heart and poured-out of my eyes. I felt that this was all part of Heaven to have them here with us and be able to join in the Baptism and Blessing. I was leading the music, but just barely.
The word, "surreal" describes the time spent in the Baptistry and the Chapel. I felt "swirled" in the moment and had my testimony strengthened as I listened to all the ordinances that were being performed and the strong presence of the the Spirit and Priesthood Authority literally wrapping around me. I was near my Steve as he gave the talk on the Holy Spirit and Confirmation.
|Jane and The Dress That Our Daughter Made For Her|
|The Baptism of Jane|
It has taken me a long time to write this post or finish it because these days have been emotional and filled with such joy. I really had been filled that Sunday, with the Spirit and felt the presence of Angels there with us. Some that still live on this earth and those that were Heavenly Angels.
BAPTISM TOWEL POEM CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTSI read this poem while everyone was being seated and still taking pictures. It was a quiet time with just the two of us and I'm grateful I was able to be apart of her baptism and give her a gift to remember. I didn't know that someone had taken a picture of us together.
My Baptism Towel
This baptism towel is to help remind you
Of your baptism day all the years through.
When you come out of the water all clean and pure,
Dry off with this towel and you can be sure,
That you are as clean as this towel is white.
And the Holy Ghost will be with you both day and night.
For the Holy Ghost is your gift after the laying on of hands,
And will be a comfort and a guide if you obey God's commands.
This CTR emblem will help remind you to be strong
As you continue to learn right from wrong.
When your towel becomes soiled, remember that we, too,
May sometimes make mistakes and we've been taught just what to do.
Just as you can wash your towel so it can again be clean,
The wrongs you make can be washed away and never again be seen.
Your Heavenly Father loves you, remember always to pray,
And He will be beside you for forever and a day. "
This January has been one month of memories I'll never forget.
It didn't occur to Steve and I that maybe my newly married daughter would be without a dorm and homeless after Christmas. The semester break is a whole month long and not a few days. They had been assigned to work as Resident Dorm Leaders in another building, but we didn't know they were homeless before the semester started again. The move-in date was late January. I was sad that she'd miss her sister, Bree and all her family and especially all that was happening this month. The visit here in Santa Paula, Jane's baptism, Susan's Baby Blessing on January 22nd and also going through the The Los Angeles Temple together on the 24th of January. It was going to be a special day for her aunt who was going to go through the temple for the first time. So of course we called her. Not like the old days when it costs money to call long-distance. We can talk anytime and they may not find that technology one of their favorites. I can see Matt now, "Hey Kiely!" "You're mother's on the phone, again!" We did call told her that her it was too bad she couldn't be here for her niece to be baptized on her birthday here in Santa Paula and how great it would be if they could be here for The Baby's Name and Blessing for her newest niece, Bree's baby Susan. It would be so wonderful if Matt as her uncle, could stand-in the circle for her blessing.
|They Came and We Had A Wonderful Time|
Chip's father gave the baptism talk and my Steve gave the Holy Ghost and Confirmation talk. He used a friend's idea of using water bottles as a visual aid explaining how The Holy Spirit and our testimony (can) leave us when we don't follow the commandments and promises made at baptism. I think our grandchildren understand that particular visual aid, very well and they've heard it now several times.
I see them scrunch-up water bottles and then look-up at me and explain, "That's not me!" They've all had the talk given to them at few of our baptisms and confirmations for our grand children, but the speakers have all been different and the talks varied, but the point has remained with them, with the water bottle demonstration.
Our trip to the LA Temple was very rushed. We got-up in the dark and headed-out not far behind Steve's sister and the rest of the family. Fortunately, they missed the terrible traffic that we happened to merge ourselves right into a giant mess and we stopped. The Sepulveda Pass on the 405 is famous for creeping traffic, we even stopped.
We arrived just within 5 or 6 minutes too late, but went upstairs to the ceiling rooms.
Our sealer happened to be President David O. McKay's son. I was able to talk to him about my step-grandfather's friendship with the Prophet and how they had a common bond of horsemanship. They were also close neighbors. **** I've found out after our trip to the temple, that our sealer, Pres. McKay's great grandmother and my Steve's great great grandmother were sisters with the last name of "Underwood." It's not a coincidence that Steve owns and wears President McKay's leather 50's bomber jacket and it fits him perfectly.
It was a great blessing to have so many in attendance from our family at my sister-in-law's entrance and meeting in the Celestial Room. Bree and Chip were there, too. All of us dressed in white and greeted each other as if it had been a lifetime, of waiting. It was a very blessed day.
Chip, Bree, and the children took advantage of the warmer days here in January to do fun and obviously California activities. Jane wanted to fly in some-kind of "fanned flying tube" and all headed-off to Universal City Walk to do that for her birthday. It was a bit sprinkling with rain, but nothing like freezing Arkansas. The little shower made everything everywhere sparkly.
The next day, the Watson's spent a long day at the beach and it was beautiful. I know they enjoyed the harbor and "The Mother's Beach."
The day was also spent looking and feeding fish at the fish hatchery in Fillmore.
It's been forever since I've done that. I used to go there by the little stream that runs to the Santa Clara River and sneak over and fish in the ditch. Oh, boy...there were lots of fish, escapees that were always over a foot long. Trout is yummy and my dad and I enjoyed every single one. I'd get the question after each meal of trout, "Now when are you going over there again to catch me some trout?" He never knew I had to actually, "trespass" to get there. Ha! Maybe he knew!
And lastly, we went with Bree and her family to Disneyland. Do we ever pass-up an opportunity to do that? We had fun holding Baby Susan while everyone rode the rides and we watched.
|My Steve and Our Grand daughter, Susan|
|Me, Susan and My Grand daughter, Susan|
|Watson Family At My Favorite Part of Disneyland, Toon Town Ha Ha! Not...|
|I didn't really give her Dr. Pepper. It was just a joke, really!|
The Watson family stayed another night and left for home after another great day at Disneyland.
|Playing With Cousins At Shield's Park in Fillmore|
Kiely and Matt had to return back to Utah to start their new assignments of being the dorm parents. Suddenly, our house that was filled to over-flowing was completely empty. We had a whole day and it started all up again with the Lazenby kids here from the beach and all of Marnie's kids running and playing.
|Visiting Great Grandmother, Dune Lazenby|
Steve will say, "What are they all crying about, now?" I laughed because it was squeals and laughter and he worries that they are all beating each other up or they've hurt themselves. I can truthfully say, it's never boring or quiet here on Danger Ranch
I think I'll add a little star on this month of January. It has been filled with great blessings that all together fill us with overflowing joy.