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!


Becky Noftle said...

What a sweet post for Naomi and Ritter to read someday, about the love Grandma felt /feels for them on their blessing day!

Megan & Brandon said...

Loved this! Thanks for sharing the day with us via your blog! We wish we could have been there!

Gregory said...

James Ritter's picture resembles Grandpa Hebdon to me quite a bit. I can easily believe he is our ancestor.

Trina Christensen said...

I am very interested in your post! I was searching the internet for pictures of my Great Grandpa James Ritter Hebdon :) this is a sweet story to go along with the story that I have always heard about Grandpa's conversion. It is always nice to meet a relative who values the sacrifice that Grandpa made for all of us!

Trina "Hebdon"