Saturday, March 19, 2016

Henry's Baptism Day

Dear Henry,

This morning you were baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints! It's been a special day for you. I hope that you will write down some of your thoughts and feelings before the day's over. If you're like me, you will likely remember details from today your whole life. If you're like your Dad, which is quite obvious, you may forget. Either way, as always, I am happy to volunteer to write down a few memories from my own perspective. 
Your baptism was at 9:00 this morning. Considering your Dad and I came home from a trip three days ago, we had a lot to pull together! And when I say "we," it was 98% my responsibility. Your Dad traveled this week which kept him occupied. Plus, because I'm the Mom, these type of tasks usually fall on me; which I'm okay with. However, I am thankful because your Dad worked with me on cleaning the house last night after you went to bed. He mopped the floors while I made a breakfast casserole. And, he went to the bagel store, early this morning, as they were part of this morning's brunch menu. For the record: I feel like a phony whenever I type the word "brunch"... it feels fancier than we are! 
Nana Marie shopped with me earlier this week for frames for a few of the photos I wanted to display. A few weeks ago, we went down to the Ogden Temple with your primary president and had some pictures taken. I had a few other errands to take care of too. I mailed the invitations before leaving for Hawaii and then figured out your baptism program while on our trip! I'm grateful everything came together. Nanna Teresa has been in New York helping Aunt Liz and her family. We were so happy that she was able to make it to your baptism; along with Bubba, Nana Marie and Papa, the Chamberlains, the Jensens, Matt and Allison Mays and some of the Taylors. Your Primary teachers, primary president, Nancy Waterfall and Bishop Kronmiller also came to support you. I mention the "craziness" that went into the preparation because even with all that we had going, the spirit of the day was strong. There was such peace and joy; which I feel thankful for. 
You probably know by now that your Mom likes pretty table displays and flower bouquets. I was full of smiles as I watched you try on your first suit jacket the day we had your photos taken. Speaking of those photos; they showcase your handsome face, incredible blue eyes and fun personality. Thinking about the menu we'd serve at our home following your baptism also took thought and consideration. I'm grateful for those in our family who helped contribute to it. All of these things added lovely elements to your day... but really, they are just things. I felt happy and satisfied in watching it all come together, but it's not the same kind of happy that comes when Heavenly Father is blessing you to feel His spirit. 
When I saw you walk out of the dressing room in your (somewhat) over-sized white baptism clothes, my heart skipped a beat. I saw a glimpse of a future Henry standing in the temple. Your Dad stood beside you, looking so handsome and proud. Everyone was there, waiting in their seats; but we went ahead and took a few quick photos before we began.

Your Aunt Katie talked about how she has a big brother (your Dad) and shared the ways in which he is a great example to her. She then spoke of our Savior, Jesus Christ. She reminded us all that He is our big brother. Today your sins were washed away as you made covenants with our Heavenly Father. The incredible blessing of the gospel is that when you make mistakes in the future, we can repent. Each week when we take the sacrament, we repent of our wrong doings and recommit ourselves to follow our Savior. As we do this, Heavenly Father blesses us with the companionship of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost will help you to learn, comfort you when you are sad, help you to remember things, warn you and protect you. As you grow in the gospel, His spirit will testify to you when things are true. He can be your best friend and helper if you invite him to be with you. I know this is true. 
Lottie and Eliza sang, "I am a child of God" and then it was time for you to be baptized. I wasn't sure where to stand as I wanted to be there to wrap you in a towel after. I finally decided on watching up front, by the kids. I watched as your Dad helped you down the steps. You said something about how warm the water was and Dad made everyone chuckle as he quietly replied, 

"It's nice, isn't it?" And then with a voice full of power and emotion, your Dad called you by name and recited the baptismal prayer. You went completely under and then came back up again. You had a giant smile on your face. Again, pretty table displays are lovely, but seeing you in that font was something entirely different. I felt joy! It was real and powerful! I was full of gratitude as I walked with you into the dressing room. I hugged your wet little body after wrapping you in a towel. I'm all about feelings, so I was probably hounding you with questions like, 

"How was it?" or "What are you feeling right now?" or "Let's talk about our feelings!!" You smiled at me and said you felt very happy inside. You were cold as you changed out of your wet clothes and back into your Sunday best, but your eyes were so bright and blue (and straight! I'm so glad we did that surgery, Henry!). Your Dad was also beaming. We gifted you with a new tie. It's your first non-clip on tie. It made me teary as I watched Daddy tie it just right. Oh, I have such strong, smart, kind, handsome boys in my life. I feel so lucky. To quote Forrest and the catchphrase he's been sharing all day, "Boo-yah!" 

My sister Ami then spoke about the gift of the Holy Ghost. Her testimony was powerful. I could see how much she loves you as I saw such tender emotion on her face. She was very thoughtful as she called all of our family members and asked them to describe you in one word. Here's a list of what they said (her kindness continued as she had this framed for you): 
It was mentioned as you were confirmed that baptism is that first step needed to return to live with our Heavenly Father. It's a saving ordinance. By being obedient in following the Savior's example, our Heavenly Father can bless you. Jesus Christ was baptized. And today you were baptized, just like Him! Commandments, Henry, aren't restrictions. They are laws of love set in place to test our obedience. As we follow them, we will be guided back to the presence of God. Obeying is a good thing because each time we are obedient, it gives Heavenly Father the opportunity to bless us!  
There was another musical number and then our Bishop spoke. He is such a great man. His testimony of the Savior was wonderful to hear. He said some neat things about you too. After your baptism, those who could, came to our home for brunch. You know, because we do brunch now. ;)

The casserole I had put in the oven before leaving the house was ready when we arrived. The timing of that made me smile, but again, dear Henry, I hope you remember that those happy details don't compare to the joy that I feel as I contemplate the wonderful boy that you are. It is my privilege and great happiness that I get to raise you. I pray everyday that Heavenly Father will let me raise all of my kids before calling me home to Heaven. You are a light in our home and a wonderful example. Aunt Ami said it so well as she talked about the amazing attributes you brought with you to this Earth life. She said that Heavenly Father needs you to do great things for Him.

As I think about you becoming a man, I don't know how I will ever be able to let you leave our nest. Motherhood is so amazing and yet it's full of heartbreaking milestones too. I hope that we can teach you to know how important the gift of the Holy Ghost is. I want you to recognize those promptings and warnings and to follow them so when I'm not there, I can feel confident that you are in Heavenly Father's care. Following our Savior's example will bring you happiness. You can learn more about Him as you study the scriptures, go to Church and listen to our Prophets.

I love you with my whole heart, Henry David Flegal. Congratulations on your special day.

Check this out!
Nana Marie spent 15+ hours creating this charcoal drawing of Henry.
It's simply amazing. 
She does this for each grandchild when they are baptized. 
I will treasure it forever. 
Thank you, Mom.

And thanks to my Dad for the great photos he shared from the baptism. :) 
 I can't believe two of my children are baptized. You can see Eliza's baptism story here:

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