Because we were going to have visitors, I put together a small reception before the meeting so we could enjoy our guests. It turned out fabulously with the help I received from four friends – Monica Woods brought her beautiful delicious rolls; Linda Jones plated everything including her famous chocolate chip cookies and made it all look beautiful; and my two Visiting Teachers, Betty Turpin and Lori Southwick, were there to be my extra sets of hands, to keep the food and water stocked as well as clean up while we ushered everyone to the meeting. These ladies' help allowed me to relax and enjoy the day!
Brother Cunningham of the bishopric had reserved four rows for our group up front which was most helpful, but also a little embarrassing. Our ward has grown from the 150 people when we arrived three years ago to a burgeoning 250 always filling up the overflow seating area. I felt bad displacing the usual early-bird families who sit in those pews! But it was so nice to be able to sit together with our friends and Eric and Tamsyn’s family who drove up from Munich to participate. How lucky are we to have family this close!!!
After the opening remarks and business, it was time to bless Jake. Ryan had asked the following to be in the priesthood circle with him: his brother Eric; the bishopric - Bishop Fred Jones, Eric Elliott, and John Cunningham; Rhett Jeppson whom he works with; his Elders Quorum presidency counselors Loir Crucy and Kevin Garlock; friend Chad Woods . . . am I forgetting some? I will always be grateful for Sister Jones pulling Ryan and I aside as we set up the reception. She tenderly stated how she loved baby blessings because seeing a circle of strong men who honor their priesthood encircle a tiny baby is simply one of life’s sweetest moments. It set the tone for our experience that day.
Ryan did a very nice job on the blessing, although it got off to a rocky start. With that many men in the circle, it was hard to determine who if any of them had a good hold on Jake! At one point, Ryan and Eric both grabbed on to him because they felt him slipping. Once Ryan had a good hold of Jake, the blessing proceeded smoothly. In his testimony he bore later, Ryan recounted how he likes to take some time before he blesses our children to read the notes his mother wrote up from his father blessing him as an infant. We are so happy she did that for him! With so much going on, I didn’t get a chance to take notes – I was so enjoying the day we were sharing with friends and family. What I do remember of the blessing is the overwhelming feeling of honor it is to have little Jakob Reid in our family and the gentle spirit he brings.
After the sacrament was passed, it was time for Testimony meeting. Our ward typically has nice testimony meetings, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I was a little nervous about who would get up and what might be said. I count it as one of the day’s greatest blessings that the testimonies shared were simple experiences of faith and gratitude to a loving Heavenly Father. References were made to members finding past friends and reuniting on Facebook or through a Google search. Ryan had to joke and add Evite to the list when he got up and thanked our friends for coming.
I wish I’d had more time with our friends before they left and the rest of our meetings began. It was so wonderful to have them there! Ryan’s coworkers: Eric and Alli Adams, Lisa Lowe, Jen Karro, Jason (Jake) Rekas and our family friends Joe and Heather Merrill with their kids, and Melanie Williams. After church, I had dinner ready in the crockpot in the building’s kitchen for us to eat with the cousins before they drove back to Munich. It was so fun to sit and catch up with them! Our poor ward had to smell delicious food the entire day at church while fasting. But it was all for a good cause! Our sweet Jake!