July 28, 2012
Ok, so this is a little late. Between all the moving mayhem, and only having a computer on the weekends and then finally having the computer but not having internet, its taken a while to get to this.
Keilana got baptized this summer! She turned 8 in early June, but we waited until some of our California/Utah family could come up before we did the baptism. So we gathered on the last weekend of July to watch our oldest take this first but oh-so-important step in her Gospel progression. She was baptized by Doug (in case you couldn't tell from the photo there:) ), with Paul Tanner and my dad serving as the witnesses. Chuck conducted the service, with Mom and Gwen saying the opening and closing prayers. Rachel gave a talk on baptism, Katy gave a talk on the Spirit, and Jen and Keilana sang a duet of "Love One Another" in Spanish. She was confirmed a member of the Church and given the Gift of the Holy Ghost by Doug, with Chuck, Paul and Dad standing in.
She was very excited about her baptism. In the doctrine of our church, 8 years old is considered the "age of accountability", where children are old enough to, at a basic level at least, understand right and wrong and the consequences of their actions, and understand and agree to this covenant. In that covenant, the individual being baptized promises that they will keep the commandments of the Lord, especially in caring for those around them as fellow children of God, and that they will take Christ's name upon them--promising to stand as His witness "at all times and in all things and in all places that [they] may be in", and in return the Lord promises to wash away all their sins and give them the gift of His spirit to be with them always. A simple ordinance is performed wherein a worthy Priesthood holder, holding at least the office of a priest, baptizes her by that authority, burying her entirely in the water and then lifting her back out--symbolizing the death of the old self, and being made alive again in Christ, through his Atonement and Resurrection. Then she is confirmed a member by a worthy Priesthood holder, holding at least the office of an elder, and is given the gift of the Holy Ghost to be her constant companion, for guidance, comfort and safety, so long as she lives worthy of that gift.
She was ready. She understands what she promised the Savior, and she understands that in return, no mistake she ever makes need be permanent. We have talked about the opportunity to repent everyday (who among us has ever had an entirely perfect day?), and to renew that covenant and be made entirely clean again each week by partaking of the Sacrament, those sacred symbols of the Savior's body and blood which were spent on our behalf.
It has been a delight to watch our oldest grow and learn, as she nearly constantly overflows with excitement for life. I put together a little video to watch with the family after her baptism, photos of our little Bug set to music, and one of the songs I used was Martina McBride's "She's A Butterfly". Its one of Keilana's favorite songs and the chorus says, "And everywhere she goes/everybody knows/she's so glad to be alive", which captures our Keilana well. I can't tell you how many times I've heard, "She's so happy and fun!" or "She always greets me with the biggest smile!" and many other things of that nature. She's many things, but some of my favorite things about her are her happy energy and her desire for everyone to feel loved. I've never known her to intentionally hurt anyone's feelings, except for maybe her little brother (and, let's be honest, its usually a teensy bit deserved when she does it to him). She's a generous and attentive big sister most of the time, and an enthusiastic and adventurous friend.
She's a good helper to me in our home. She very consistently reminds me to do our family scripture study, she offers sincere prayers at meals and before bed, she loves to talk about and share the things she learns in Primary and at school. She loves to be around people, always, no matter the day, time or occasion.
In short, she loves to love and be loved, and she loves to learn, so I think she's going to be just fine in the long run.