Saturday, December 12, 2015

10 December 2015

It's been one year since Terry passed away and I miss him terribly..., but I'm Fine!

I thought of you today, but that is nothing new.
I thought about you yesterday and days before that too.
I think of you in silence, I often speak your name.
All I have are memories and your picture in a frame.
Your memory is a keepsake from which I'll never part.
God has you in His arms, I have you in my heart.

I prayed that I would be okay, and I continually tried to reassure myself that the Lord has been strengthening me these past six months and that I can do this.  I know it's true!

I wanted to celebrate and recall the great memories of our first 35 years and not dwell on the memories of being without him during this last year, nor dread the next however many years I have to live without him - because it's just too hard on a soul to be sad every second of the day.

Dr. Suess:

I woke up Thursday morning with a peaceful feeling and felt that my day was going to be okay.

John 14:27, Jesus Christ brings peace in ways the world cannot
image from here

I went to teach seminary almost like it was any other day..., but I had a back up plan ready to set in motion if needed. (Thanks to a great friend that was ready and willing to prepare just in case, and then come take my place if my emotions got the best of me.)

I got to seminary and was surprised to see three students there early before I even entered the classroom, so I could sense a difference but didn't pay much attention to anything else except finding a place to put the things piled in my arms.

I noticed my lectern at one side of the room.  It had a plate of cookies and little hearts scattered around with encouraging words written on each. It immediately brought joy to my heart and tears to my eyes.

Awesomeness!  This is the plate of cookies and the hearts that were scattered around the table top

I then knew why the girls had come early and gratitude filled my whole soul.  I felt of their love, and put my things down on a table and went back to give them a hug.

Then they started to explain a few things and tell me more about it and that is when I noticed the rest of the room.  I felt silly for not having noticed it first, but my mind and eyes were on other things as I entered the room.  There was another "heart attack" on the white board, with notes from my students.

It was a beautiful sight to behold - beautiful to my eyes and to my heart and soul.  Of course my emotions surfaced again ...,

and again, when one of the boys walked in with this lovely arrangement.

I was able to teach that day and at the end of class I had a little cup of almond m&ms for each of them and asked them to give me a handshake or hug as they left, if they felt comfortable.  I have awesome students!   I am grateful for each one of them.  I love them!  I am grateful that God gave them to me.

I continued to feel a special spirit throughout the day.  I wished I could decipher whether that spirit was from Terry or from the Savior.  Then something special happened that afternoon and I knew that it was Terry that was with me, because immediately an impression came to me that was him talking to me in his familiar tone of voice and with words that he would have used, and my mind then knew what my heart had been feeling.  I was grateful to know he was with me.

Later that day as I was talking about that experience I realized that it really is awesome that I don't always know if it is Terry or the Spirit of the Lord with me, and that just means they are similar enough to each other that I cannot tell them apart.

I must certainly make sure my actions here on earth will make me the person that Terry wants back when the time comes.

In addition to this love shown at seminary, I received texts and phone calls and emails and visits that
kept me busy all day.  I am grateful for family and friends.  Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers on my behalf (and for my family too).

It certainly has been a difficult year ...,

interesting quote - I remember waking up one day soon after he passed away and my whole body ached:
image from here 

but it has included some special times that I will treasure.

I am not grateful that Terry left this earth life when he did, but I am grateful for our Savior and Heavenly Father who have proven that They are aware of me, my family and the situation They placed us in.  Sometimes I feel lost, but I am very aware of the fact that I am / We are not alone.

God didn't promise... primitive wood sign vertical
image from here 

This day was a tender mercy!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Blessings

The first song I played this morning was timely as I turned around and saw all the signs of cold outside and felt the warmth from inside this wonderful home, and a blanket of gratitude enveloped me.  This song began and the words fit so perfectly with all I beheld - our home and homestead.   It matched my feeling of gratitude for the moment, and even made it more than what it was.  I am grateful for The Blessings - all that's been given me.  All that Terry provided for us and for the Lords hand it it all.

I hope Terry can see and/or know of the love and desire in my eyes - my love for him and for the Savior and our Heavenly Father, and my desire to be with him and Them.   I think my eyes have a hard time showing anything but pain lately.   I hope and pray that I will make the necessary changes in my life and endure well (better than I have) as I continue on this path back to them.

I have been trying to focus more on my blessings instead of my loss.  It is tremendously difficult but I keep repenting and trying again.  It will probably take me years of trying, but with Christ on my side I know I can eventually succeed - and, I'm succeeding as long as I do keep trying.

I am so grateful for the Savior who atoned for me - a blessing beyond measure!

Christ Atoned For US

I am grateful that He made it possible for families to be together forever.

What a marvelous blessing that is.

I am so grateful for The Blessings!  Each and every one of them!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Welcoming the Christmas Season

Hello Family and Friends,

I added a post on December first that was a "GIF" to welcome the season.  I didn't spend much time with it and it was simple but sent greetings out to those who read this blog.

The next day I was having technical difficulties and decided to remove it since it was the only change I had made.  After removing it I thought all was well again, but these words kept jumping around as I wrote this. (So between my difficulties with the computer and my schedule I'm not doing very well at getting this post done - it's taken me parts of three days now!)

Anyway -  I'm adding this apology for the error of my ways.  :)   It has confused and saddened a few of my loyal readers to know that there was once a post but it no longer exists.  I'm sorry!

I've stolen this image from google, and hope it brightens your day!  It is certainly meant to share love in this moment in time.

Image result for merry christmas

With the weather as it has been in our area (snowy, icy, cold and dangerous to drive in, especially in the early mornings) our school district had a two hour late start on Wednesday and Thursday, which means there was no seminary those two days.

This is not necessarily a good thing, in fact, I missed it, but it has allowed me more time at home, so I'm trying to decorate for Christmas.

I didn't decorate for many of the holidays this year.  This is especially strange for me, but some of this stuff just doesn't matter to me anymore.  What I used to want or do was done for a reason that doesn't seem to matter to me anymore at the moment.

 Maybe it will another year???  I'm happy that I don't have to think about it or decide that right now.

(Now you see how I am?)  
image from here
(And I'm ok with that!)

However, with this holiday I decided to decorate - not for me, but for everyone else.

In our most recent General Conference, I heard a phrase that interested me because I've been working on it for several years now -

“When you cannot do what you have always done, then you only do what matters most.”  Elder Hales quote from here

(And that keeps changing for me, making things really tricky.)

Anyway, I'm decorating for Christmas because what matters most is ... others!  Yip!  I don't need it, but others do.  Some even expect it from me and would be very disappointed in me if I did not decorate.  And, then it would discourage me ...,

So I did begin to decorate for Christmas on Wednesday.  Trees are out, but not decorated - just placed in their spot.  I've got to purchase some lights because after years of use, they are all burning out.

While I was decorating I even played Christmas music. That was fun.  I did enjoy it and it might help get me in the mood to finish decorating for Christmas.  The combination of Christmas music and Christmas decor, along with the memories of the past, have created a new feel - a personal and tender expression of love, unspoken.  

One of my all time favorite Christmas CDs is A Christmas to Remember, by Amy Grant. I'm currently on my third CD because it gets used and abused.

A Christmas To Remember

This time listening to it, I heard something and felt something I had not before heard and felt.  (Yes, that is still quite common in my life.)   As I was singing along to 'Til The Season Comes 'Round Again the words caught me of guard.  It applied to me in a completely different way than before.

Come and gather around at the table
In the spirit of family and friends
And we'll all join hands and remember this moment
'Til the season comes 'round again

Let's all try to smile for the picture
And we'll hold it as long as we can
May it carry us through
Should we ever get lonely
'Til the season comes 'round again

One night holy and bright
Shining with love from our hearts
By a warm fire,
Let's lift our heads high
And be thankful we're here
'Til this time next year

May the new year be blessed
With good tidings
'Til the next time I see you again
If we must say goodbye
Let the spirit go with you
'Til the season comes 'round again

May the new year be blessed with good tidings
'Til the next time I see you again
If we must say goodbye
Let the spirit go with you
And we'll love and we'll laugh
In the time that we had
'Til the season comes 'round again

I thought of Terry, of course.
I thought of gathering for Christmas last year without him..., and that season is upon us again.
I thought of us all trying to smile for the family picture before the funeral - trying to smile and "hold it as long as [I could]".
I thought of carrying through when I do get lonely 'til the season comes 'round again - and that season is not only a Christmas season, but also the season that I will again be with Terry.   I can hardly wait!

My thoughts continued as the song continued, each phrase touching my heart in a new way.  My heart is grateful for the time that we shared and for the spirit that calms a troubled and saddened heart because we did have to say goodbye for a time.

This song came on at a time when I was working with "my family" that Terry gave me for a birthday gift many years ago.

I didn't want to put it away to bring out Christmas decor, so I moved it with a few other things to this area.  While decorating for Christmas last year, I had moved it from it's original spot on the fireplace to the hutch on the other side of the room.  When Terry looked over to the fireplace to see it one day (not realizing I had moved it) he was surprised to not find it there and asked; "where is my family?" I could sense a hurtful, disappointed tone in his voice when he realized that his family was not there. It was a painful moment for me and the feeling lingers, so I cannot move it out of sight ..., ever.

At this moment, the only decor that is complete is this one small shelf.  
I have since began decorating a little pencil tree right below the shelf, and adding items that represent or remind me of Terry.  I'm not calling it a Terry Tree, but instead it's HisTree!  Just a bit more of His Story in visual form.

Part of a floral arrangement from his funeral.

One of his handkerchiefs

A scrabble ornament I purchased for him many years ago.  We never did put it on the tree, but he kept it hung in the office on the bulletin board.  

Someone gave us a scrabble game for a wedding gift and we played that often (it was the only game we owned for years).  It helped us create many great memories.

The tree isn't complete, but it's a start ... and it feels good.   As I look at it I can also see Terry's shelf in the library and a wreath (with vintage handkerchiefs and elves) we purchased for our Seattle apartment during our last stay there.

I guess this post is proof that things do still matter to me, but one thing I have really thought about is that I didn't realize then that I had everything I wanted!    Not that Terry was the only thing I ever wanted, but he is the one thing I did not want to let go of and now that he is not here I am lost.  I'm different!   Day to day life has become something I am not familiar with.   It's a strange feeling - one I don't completely understand and cannot completely explain.      However, I am grateful for it.  And, I am grateful for this holiday season, and the reason for this season.  I am thankful for Christ!

Well, my post is finally at an end ..., complete with my wish for you -

Image result for merry christmas

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Light...

 light quotes gallery-9
visual from here

I mentioned in an earlier post that the ceiling in the craft room had some water damage and needed repaired.

Well, it is finally fixed.  The area has been repaired and the whole ceiling repainted.

It looks much better now and the best part is that we have a new light fixture, which means that I can see.  After more than 20 years of off and on, the light fixture was beginning to have problems.  One at a time the six little bulbs began blowing out within a few weeks after installing them, leaving me often with just one 15 watt bulb lighting the room.  I relied on my table lamp for the light at my desk and the rest of the room was dimly lit, which was pretty tricky in the early mornings and winter evenings.

Now, I have a fan light that lights the whole room very nicely - that is very important since I'm always up before the sun comes up and after the sun goes down and much of my time is spent in this room.

Because this is one of the warmest rooms in the summer the fan will add some relief to the warm sun shining thru the windows at the end of the day.

The walls are still not painted the color I'd like for the craft room, but that project still has to wait for another day.  For now, I'm happy to have the light.  Light is always uplifting.

visual from here

Saturday, November 21, 2015

A Message of Comfort and Cheer

Elder Holland has such a wonderful way of sharing with us and inspiring us, and I am grateful for this message I came across as I was searching resources for seminary lessons.  It isn't one I'll use in seminary, but it is something I will use in my everyday personal life.  Therefore, I need to keep it close to remind me when I need it most.  (And maybe I'll take time to listen to the complete message another time, because I didn't get all of it this time.)

Christmas Comfort

"Birth is ultimately for the death"

"We have each other now and forever"  "Because of Christ"

Image result for now and forever

"Temporary separation at death ... are part of the price we pay for love in this world, and for the joy of birth, and for family ties ...."

"Remember why all of this matters"

"Cannot separate Bethlehem from Gethsemane."

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Terry Beckett Hebdon

We have another addition to our family!  Thomas and Dana added one more ...


He joins siblings - Auger, Akeigh and Boston.

I got a text telling me they would call him Beckett.  I knew it was a name starting with a B, and that is all I expected.

I also got this picture.  

It's such a tiny picture on my phone and I was looking at my grandson, not the paper, and at a glance it looks like Baby Hebdon is written on the paper, so that's what I went with.  

It was hours later when Connor mentioned something about Beckett's name that confused me, so I went back to look through my texts, stretched the picture larger...,  

more like this -

and actually read the name written on the sticker on his chest.  

I love it!

My heart is full of joy!   It sounds so wonderful - Terry Beckett.   I'm sure that I will have to use both names when I say his name - at least some of the time. 

Mother is fine and is going to try to get some rest, in the ML hospital, but surely missing her baby. Baby is 4 weeks early and his lungs need some help, so they have sent him to Spokane to be cared for there.  His daddy gave him a blessing and we are praying for him.  

I know Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers, so I know all will be well if we trust Him. I keep hearing Beckett's grandfather say "It will turn out better than you think!".    

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Weekend Recap

With Halloween coming soon, it seems that we have had a few tricks and treats find their way to our house.

Friday night treat = Connor and BrittanyJo came home for ..., well, for Saturday.

Saturday treat = a great day to share with family, keeping warm and comfortable inside our home.
Saturday trick = the wind blew a crazy dust storm outside.

That dust storm found it's way inside as well., and before I was aware of it, our playroom looked like this.  

The grandchildren were playing happily and didn't even know it was happening, but when I discovered it, they were quickly directed to a new room to play in, away from the dusty air.

Sunday morning Connor and BJo headed back to Rexburg after attending sacrament meeting in Warden.  We miss them already, but were happy to have one day with them.  

Monday treat =  After we cleaned the church building (Thomas' family and Anthony and I) we sat down to watch How to Train a Dragon 2.  Then we had more guests (Michael's family) and it wasn't long before our front steps were filled with pumpkins.  

I walked out of the house on the way to seminary the next morning with this lovely look.  I enjoy it each time I walk in and out of the house.

Isn't it silly that I didn't get any pictures of the family?  My Bad!  But it was nice to have family together again.  Already looking forward to the next time.

A Tender Mercy

To Remind Me:
I love this message from my seminary study last night and so want to remember it.
It's one more time when something speaks to me in a very personal way. Especially the last paragraph.  I didn't actually read my name in place of Abraham when I was studying it, but the feeling was the same as if I had, and quite intense.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Here's what's been happening ...

Our house has gone through some changes of late.  Some out of necessity and one out of desire.

After 23 years of weather, especially these blasting winds, our shingles were ending up on the ground too often and a leak was found in the ceiling of my craft room.   Repairs were definitely in order.

But, before we could repair those things I followed through with a desire that Terry and I have had for several years.

A few years ago Terry and his boys built a deck out the dining room and family room doors. Terry put every effort he had into it, but in all honesty, Thomas did much of the work.

(FYI - Past posts about the deck can be found Here and Here.)

We really loved it, but found that we didn't use it as much as we thought we might because of the heat beating down from the sun and the little bit of rain on occasion that sent us all back inside.

In some of the heavy rain and blistering wind days our family room would have some wet carpet, so we knew we needed to do something to fix that problem too.  This roof should solve that problem.

hail storm 20 July 2012

If there is a problem now, it is that the deck will only be washed off when I wash it off. The rain will not do it for me. Oh Bother! That won't be a real problem except for the windy days without the rain, like our last Saturday when we ended up with a field in our yard, covering the deck. It will be a dusty mess to clean when I get around to that one.

Now, back to the real story -
Terry and I had decided that to make the deck worth it's money we should cover it, but Terry's health held us back with that project, so it never did happen.

With the roof needing new shingles it seemed that now would be the time to make that change, so I finally put that plan in motion.

It is so awesome!  I am sure we will love it.  I already love it!

The roofing got completed.  Old shingles removed and new put on.

Next up - paint the exterior.  Then maybe I can finally get the shutters back up at the windows (something else Terry and I have wanted to do for awhile and didn't get it done) and put the railing back around the deck.  I just keep keeping us busy with something, as if seminary wasn't enough.

BTW - I love my seminary students!!!!!   They are AWESOME!!!!!    Everyone would want to teach seminary if they had my students.   The students might want a new teacher, but I don't want to trade any of my students!   The Lord gave them to me, and I'm grateful that He did.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Successfully Failing: Pursuing Our Quest for Perfection

While studying for seminary I found this message from Kevin J Worthen, titled Successfully Failing: Pursuing Our Quest for Perfection.   I post it here to remind me of this great talk (given to BYU students in January 2015).

I hesitated to post any of his message here, because it is surely best in its entirety.  Realizing that much will be left out, I do add a few sentences and paragraphs that did stand out to me at the time I first read them.

So, TO REMIND ME, and to inspire me to return to the full message on occasion (because reading between the lines on this page will add so much more inspiration):

... how we respond when we fail will ultimately determine how well we will succeed ...

... learn how to fail successfully ...

This earth, the setting for our mortal existence, was created so that we could “prove” ourselves. But I believe we may not appreciate the full meaning of the word prove in that scripture. In everyday usage the word prove means to demonstrate something that already exists.9 Thus we take final exams to prove what we already know about the material we have been studying that semester. But the Oxford English Dictionary provides an additional meaning for the word prove. It indicates that prove also means “to find out, learn, or know by experience.”10

I believe the opportunity we have to prove ourselves in this life was not designed to allow us to demonstrate to God how obedient we already were before we came to earth. He, and we, already knew that. God formed this earth and gave us this mortal existence so that we could “prove” ourselves in the other sense of that word—so that we could “find out, learn, or know by experience” truths that we did not already know and that we could not learn in any other way.
We always think of failure as the antithesis of success, but it isn’t. Success often lies just the other side of failure.11

... Nephi when he was given the assignment to obtain the brass plates from Laban. As we know, his first two efforts failed, but he persisted and ultimately succeeded. In the process he discovered the power of being “led by the Spirit,” 13 a critical lesson that he may not have learned if the first effort to persuade Laban to release the plates had been successful. Nephi’s life was forever changed in a positive way because he failed twice—and, more important, because of the way he responded to those failures.

Thus failing is a critical component of our eternal progress—our quest for perfection. And because of the Atonement we can—if we respond to failures in the right way—be blessed with a new kind of learning that allows our failures to become part of the perfecting process. As Elder Bruce C. Hafen has explained, the beauty of the gospel is that “because of the Atonement, we can learn from our mistakes without being condemned by them.”14 What a wonderful blessing that absolutely marvelous and indispensable portion of the plan of salvation provides to each of us, if we will but take advantage of it.
This does not mean that we should try to fail as often as we can. “Not all failures are created equal.”15 

Finally, we can be assured that however we have failed, it can, from an eternal perspective, be changed. The Atonement is that powerful and that comprehensive. As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland put it:
If you are lonely, please know you can find comfort. If you are discouraged, please know you can find hope. . . . If you feel you are broken, please know you can be mended.28
Because of the Atonement, all failures are changeable and temporary, except the one that occurs when we give up. So whatever you do, don’t you dare give up.
What I am suggesting is not simply an affirmation of the power of positive thinking; it is a recognition of the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ—the perspective it gives us, the truths it provides, and “the infinite virtue of [Christ’s] atoning sacrifice”29 that is available to us all. Yes, I am asking you to trust yourself more, but, more important, I am asking you to trust God. I urge you—in your moments of doubt and despair, in the times when you think you have failed and you think you can’t make it right—to focus more on Him and less on yourselves.

God is as good, as powerful, as loving, as patient, and as consistent as He says He is. If we will but focus on the eternal truths He has made available to us, both through institutional revelation and through personal promptings and reassurances, He will turn all our failures into successes. I bear my witness that He lives and loves us with a love we cannot comprehend. He gave His Son so that we might move forward in our quest for perfection with full confidence and assurance that we will succeed despite our failures.

(As a side note: my study continued and Elder Dale G. Renlund's message given in April 2015 General Conference goes well with Brother Worthen's talk above.)

Saturday, September 12, 2015

College Bound

Our household was up and going at 4:00 this morning.  Not a common sight, but necessary for the adventures of the day.  I have such mixed emotions about the day - I am so pleased that Connor and BrittanyJo will have wonderful opportunities and experiences this fall, but I will truly miss them.

a truck load - ready to head out
Not only will we miss their presence, but we will miss their contribution to the family and farm.

Connor's work on the farm has been much of a learning experience this past year, but has been so appreciated, and will be missed.  He has a love for farming that I didn't know he had till this year.  He was also our media-man, so our facebook page won't get the attention it once had.  We'll all have to be patient and wait for later next spring to see more farm work posted there.

BrittanyJo's help in the house has spoiled me.  She has done the majority of the cooking and dish washing since she's been home.  Now that she will be gone I think I should find a maid.  ;)  It wouldn't be the same though, so I won't waste any effort on that.

Whether we are coming from or going to Rexburg, we always feel grateful when we reach Missoula. Missoula is our half way point (even though it's not exactly half way - it's the biggest city, the closest we can come to half way).  

BJo sent me a photo (at my request), to document their safe travels, and that they were in Missoula.  :)  

We are down to two in our house now, just Anthony and I, which is a strange feeling today.  And when we think into the future just a bit, we realize that he could be out of the house as early as June next year.  His May birthday makes it possible for a mission right after graduation.  WOW!    Is he ready?  Am I ready?   I guess we will just do our best to become ready!

There is a lot of "becoming" taking place in our family.

"Becoming" is what life is all about.  I know we are each always "becoming", always have been and always will be, but I have had a few new experiences of late that have made me have to become something and/or someone different than I originally thought about, and it's really overwhelming at times.   Changing conditions and circumstances always create a need to adapt to the newness, but it seems that, in my experience, there hasn't been anything take place in my life to this point that has created more of a focus on becoming, and for such a long period of time, as has done the loss of my spouse (who I might add, was also my best friend and "constant" companion).   Truly, my every minute was focused on him.  It has been very difficult trying to figure out how to live joyfully without him.  I don't know if I'll every really figure it out completely.

Becoming is an interesting word - one I hadn't really thought a lot about before, but it has been on my mind often times over the past few months.


the process of coming to be something or of passing into a state.

any change from the lower level of potentiality to the higher level of actuality.

We are each in the process of coming to be something better than what we are ..., taking the experiences that are presented to us and making them work for our good.   Sometimes it is a very difficult thing - I hope we can each find some success in our becoming.

One thing I am quite confident in is the Lord will help us become what He knows we can become - better than we now are, to a "higher level of actuality".    I need Him every hour, and I know He blesses me every hour.  

Monday, September 7, 2015

Baby Blessing and a History Lesson

We had a wonderful Sunday.

This was another sweet occasion for our family.  Ritter and Naomi were blessed.

We didn't get close up photos of the babies so I borrowed from Tawnee's facebook page.  (Thank you Tawnee!)

Naomi and Ritter

Those two are so sweet, and the family they were born into loves them dearly.  As their grandmother, I feel double blessed.  I am not there 24/7 to attend to their every need, so it's easy for me to say how wonderful it is, but I know that even with all the extra work and exhaustion on their part (especially Tawnee's part), Tawnee and Michael agree with the double blessings.  I've seen the love and affection they both have for these babies and for the awesome big sister these baby's have, and for each other.

One of my greatest joys is to see my children loved, honored, and respected by their spouse and for my children to love, honor, and respect their spouse.   It is equally joyful to see that they are raising their children in the gospel, striving to live the teachings of Jesus, so that we, as a whole, can be an eternal family, worthy of all the blessings promised those who follow and obey the Lord.

I find that their greatest accomplishments, in my mind, are those that qualify them for eternal life - actions that deal with individual worthiness and with sacrifice and service to one another ... the daily living and following Jesus Christ and His teachings - always striving to be in harmony with the will of God.

Okay, back to the blessing day ...

We were busy eating and visiting and didn't get any great photos, but we did get a couple quick snap shots that we can share.

Now a bit of back ground:

Ritter's name is a family name belonging to Terry's great-grandfather, James Ritter Hebdon. Each of our sons have a middle name from one of their ancestors, and Michael's middle name is James, after this man, James Ritter Hebdon.  Ritter now shares his fathers middle name and he shares the heritage that goes with it.

James Ritter Hebdon has a life story full of faith amidst hardship.  He found trials and tragedy, but he also found love and faith and commitment throughout his life.  His conversion story starts with a dream he had, where he saw two men who told him they had something for him.  He told his wife about it the next morning and left for work.  A few days later two men came to his home.  They talked to Ann (his wife) and left some literature for them to read and invited them to a meeting. James walked 14 miles to attend this meeting.  When he entered the church he recognized two men as the two he had seen in his dream.  After the meeting James introduced himself and invited them to his home.  James was baptized by Joseph F. Smith on 20 December 1865.   When his parents found out about it they were bitter and told him to either forsake the gospel or leave his home.  He would not give up his new found faith, so his parents disowned him.

James and Ann left England to go to the US.  The story continues, and the short of it is that his wife and her new born child died on the boat.  Two sons had scarlet fever and James hired Mary Ann Kate White to help him care for the boys (age 4 and 2), but they never recovered. He was alone again.

It wasn't as simple as I make it sound here, but it would take much time to explain it all in detail (even the small amount of detail that is recorded). 

James married Mary Ann Kate and they began their trek across the plains together.   There is a beautiful love story for this couple along the their trek, but that will have to be saved for another time.

However, back to this man, James Ritter Hebdon, he continued, strong and faithful, determined in his efforts to serve and remain on the Lords side.  

I share this information because of the tenderness I feel in my heart for this new born babe, for his parents, his grandfather, and every generation before.   When I see Ritter I do not see Terry, but when I hear his name I hear the connection to Terry and I love it.  

I feel like I am leaving Naomi out, but I am not.  Her name is not given because of a beloved ancestor, but because of the beloved child she is.  Naomi's name fits her sweet feminine features. One source says her name is Hebrew, meaning pleasant, agreeable.   We already see those characteristics in her.  And, even though she does not share the name Ritter, she, as does each of our children and grandchildren, shares the heritage that goes along with it.    I love them all!  If you need proof - you can see that I'm holding her here, close to my heart.

Maybe I should reconsider what I said before about not seeing Terry in Ritter, when I see any of my grandchildren I see a connection to Terry, because they are ours. Everything is about eternity to me. That is totally what I am living for, more than ever before.  I was raised in the gospel and I have always believed and known that it is true and I have been grateful for my membership in the church. But, at least once, somewhere along the way, I chose to follow that path. I didn't walk blindly down it just because my parents showed me the way, but I chose to take each step along the way.

One of those steps was choosing Terry as my earthly and eternal companion.  No one else chose him for me - I chose him.  And I will continue to choose him every day of my life, and every day of eternity.   It was my parents desire that I marry for eternity, but it was not their choice.  It was mine and it was Terry's choice.   And we will continue choosing eternity together.   This family is eternal ..., by choice!

It will be so fun to watch these children grow and develop their own personalities.  These are our first babies born since Terry passed away.  I know that he loves them.  He loves all of his children and grandchildren.  We hope that each chooses for themselves, to live worthy of the eternal blessings promised all who believe and follow the Savior.   Each child is precious and we love their individuality.  I pray that they each will continue in life, making their own individual choices that lead to eternal families.

Well, this post turned into more than a baby blessing or two.  ;)

I leave it as is, as a token of love and appreciation for all that God has given me.  It has been too easy for me to focus on what He took from me, and forget all that He has given me.

So grateful that Terry is mine!
So grateful for our children (including those married into the family)!
So grateful for each of our 13 (and counting) grandchildren!