Wednesday, July 4, 2012

New Blog Site

I'm now going to use Wordpress for my blog. It's currently under construction, but the address is Do visit!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Date

I was supposed to write Part III but I never got to it, so here's the short version: I had locked the keys in the car and I called my insurance company to save the day but they couldn't for an hour so my kids and I sat in the parking lot for an hour from 9:30-ish to 10:30-ish. The kids were grumpy. I took some cute pics.

Okay, now on to funner things.

I had a date a few hours ago. A DATE. Like, a boy and a girl go out and the boy pays. His name is Shaun. I met him for the first time tonight. We've been "talking" for a few weeks through the dating website, It's supposed to be Plenty of Fish, but I always read it as Plenty Offish. I'm not offish but I joined anyway. So, we'd been messaging back and forth and he finally asked me out and I accepted.

As the date approached, I became more and more nervous. What if he hated me? What if he liked me and wanted to go out again? Both seemed frightening. No one likes to be hated, and I have also grown so accustomed to my singleness that the idea of changing that is, indeed, frightening. But then a kind friend on Facebook advised me to think of the best thing that could happen, and the worst thing that could happen, and expect something in between. I took her advice and allowed myself to imagine that this date would be the first day of the rest of my life, that I would fall in love and eventually marry this guy, and he'd be perfect for me and my family. And I allowed myself to imagine that he would be a scumbag, and also that we'd get close and then he'd break my heart. After I thought of those possibilities, I realized that all are unlikely at this point, and so what if any of that happens? So what if he was a scumbag? I'd be just fine.

So I wasn't quite as nervous anymore.

It was my first date, though, in two years. And I was still nervous.

The babysitter was 20 minutes late, so I had to text him that I'd be late and I was sorry. When I met him, he looked quite different from his picture on the profile. And. Also. Here's the other thing. As soon as I saw him, I knew it was him, and it felt like I'd known him a while. Like, "ah! There's my old friend!" It was just a "click," okay? It seemed like we were supposed to be there together. You know how sometimes you click right off and sometimes you don't? We clicked right off.

The movie was quite good. Snow White and the Huntsman. He was so funny. He wasn't as funny in his emails, so it was a pleasant surprise that he made me laugh so much. I'd really thought he was a more serious guy.

I want to get to know him more.

He's older than I am by 13 years! I've never dated someone that much older. But I find his age attractive. Perhaps he's a grown-up. He has 3 daughters and they're about the same age as my kids.

He wants to see me again! I do believe I'll soon have my first 2nd date since my divorce, and I'm so excited! I really like him.

No matter what happens, tonight was a good night.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Graduation Part II

We graduates sat and waited for 7:00. Time was slow. We were hot. At about 6:30, various people talked to us, including the Dean. Got us all riled up. Super fun. Then a woman announced that if we have a difficult name, to line up with our name cards and tell the person how to pronounce it. Well, Montano isn't that difficult. I figured the worst that could happen was they'd pronounce it "Mon-TA-no" ("a" like in 'cat') rather than "Mon-TAH-no ("a" like spawn), but I really do prefer the MonTAHno so I got in line. When I presented my name card to the reader, she said "Stephanie Montoya." Really? Because... there's no 'y' in my name, nor does it end with an 'a,' so.... I told her "no, MonTAHno" and she said, slowly, "Mon. Ton. Oh." and I said yes. She made a mark on my name to help her remember the pronunciation.

I returned to my seat, and shortly after, we were given instructions on how to proceed. The ceremony began right on time. First the faculty left the room into the arena, then the GED graduates, then the rest of us. When we were told to stand, I started to feel some bouncing in my gut. I was so excited! We walked out of the room, around the corner, into the arena, and tears struck the moment I heard the talented quartet playing Pomp and Circumstance, and it was just as exciting as when I was walking down the aisle at my wedding while my aunt played the Bridal March on the piano. People were cheering as we entered, and I searched the audience for my family.

I was directed to a seat on the end of the row on the right side. We had to stay standing forever while the remaining graduates entered. My feet hurt so bad. I should have worn flats. I couldn't find my family. Finally I spotted my bestie, Kim, way high in the stands in front of me, behind the quartet. I was so glad she was on the same side as I was. Kadin and Kevin were with her, and I could tell Kim was looking for me, so I started waving like crazy. Finally she saw me and waved back and showed Kadin and Kevin where I was. Yay!!

The graduates were seated and the first speaker spoke. Still couldn't find my family. About 30 minutes into it, I checked my phone, and Kim had texted me that my family was with her. I looked up and saw my sweet Anna first, then the rest of them- Matthias, Melanie, David, Mom and Dad. I started waving again until my kids saw me, and they blew me kisses and signed "I love you." I love them! They're so great!

The President spoke, the Dean spoke, and some other people spoke. I enjoyed everyone's words except the student speaker's. Probably mostly because I was jealous that she got to speak and not me! ha. I kept thinking I would have done a better job, but I'm sure that's not the case.

Finally it was time for us to walk. First the GED students walked. Then the rest of us (which was most of us) had to stand and wait our turn. My feet began burning after about four minutes, so I took my shoes off till I had to move. I waved to my family as I walked past them which was just before the stairs to the stage. I climbed them and Kayla behind me whispered "don't fall!" Ha. I handed my card to the reader and as soon as she said "Stephanie," I stopped hearing anything at all. I wanted to make sure I was walking to the right places so I was following where people were pointing. I made sure to point to Teresa who sat with the faculty behind the podium. I actually did hear her call out my name, now that I think about it. I received my CWI folder thing, shook the Dean's hand, got my picture taken, and returned to my seat, where I had to stand again until everyone's name had been called. Off went the shoes.

It was then that I realized I had no idea if the woman said my last name correctly. When we were all seated again, I texted Kim to ask if she said my name right. No, Kim said! I couldn't believe it! After the tutorial and everything! I would be more merciful since she had a lot of names to read if my name wasn't so simple. Oh well.

Later, I watched the video my dad took and she said "Stephanie J Montoyo." Well, it was closer than when she practiced it, anyway. I just don't get the "y" sound...

We stood again to move our tassels to the left side and scream and cheer, and then confetti fell from the ceiling all over us! The music and the cheering and the confetti was so perfect. What a great night!!

After that, the faculty lined up on either side of the aisle, where they stood clapping for us as we walking between them. When I got to Teresa and Darci, I gave them hugs. Standing near them was also an instructor I'd had last semester for Business Computer Applications class, Linda Benson. She was also proud of me and gave me a hug too. We were led back into the room we were first in, and then outside to find our families. Anna was the first to spot me and she took this picture. ha!

Mom and Dad were with Anna, and Melanie and David weren't far behind. They said they hoped Matthias was with Kim! ha, so we walked on, looking for Kimmy. When we spotted them, this is how I found the boys:


Kimmy took this one for me:

Oh, I love that one. Anna may not love it, hehe, but I do, even of her and her cheesy grin! So cute.

Kadin snapped this one:

Oh, my Kimmy. She was so excited for me! She didn't treat my graduation like a burden and she wouldn't have missed it for much of anything. She kept telling me how proud of me she was and what a good example I am to my kids. She's a wonderful best friend and a cherished blessing in my life.

And some fantastic women and me:

They're so great to have attended.
Why didn't someone tell me my cap was crooked??

I snapped a few more photos, trying to get everyone who was there. Everyone seemed like they were in a big hurry to leave so I was trying to hurry. This one was just Melanie and David till one millisecond before the photo was taken:

Ha! That Kadin! He cracks me up.

Dad and Kevin were trying to sneakily avoid the camera. Not on my watch!

Isn't my mommy pretty?

Well Mom and Dad had to go. Melanie and David said they had a bit of time to kill after all. I was starving. So I said we should all go to Perkin's. It was about 9:15 I think, and dusk. I said everyone should meet me there. I was going to take care of my keys issue and see them soon. While the kids and I walked alone back to my car, I called the insurance company. I have roadside assistance with my car insurance and it covers lockouts. I've had to use it twice already in the last year.

Stay Tuned for Part III, where I will tell the rest of this story, which is crazy I tell you!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Graduation! Part I

Well on Friday, I had my celebratory barbecue. I really don't like being a hostess. But I love my peeps and I love food and I wanted to celebrate this life milestone! I invited pretty much everyone I know. About ten people who said they would come didn't come but I still had a great turnout. I tried to operate my new grill but my dad and friend Kevin had to save the day because it was scaring me, what with all the flames.... haha. For my own purposes, here's a list of my guests: Mom, Dad, Cameron, Casey, Rebecca H (Christine's sister) and her two kids, Kim and Kadin, Kevin, Jeff and Astrid et al, Jenny and Bethany, Shiloh and her girls, Heidi from school and her two kids, and Michael. I hadn't met Michael before but I participate in a Facebook group for LDS midsingles in the Treasure Valley and I invited anyone who wanted to come and he came, which was cool of him. Seems like a nice fella.

Matthias was at a father and son campout with Chris. So nice of him to take my boy! But Anna was with me and we had a great time. Here's some proof:

 Anna totally picked a bunch of weeds from the narrow side of the house. 

It was way fun.

Saturday, I woke excited. I would be graduating that evening! I couldn't wait. I got off work early, thanks to VTO, and I went shopping for a dress to wear. I went to Ross so I bought three dresses..... oy..... I love them all so much! Originally I had five dresses that I really wanted. I'm so blessed to be able to afford three new dresses! Of course, they were only $15 each.... man I love Ross. :)

I mentioned in my previous post that I have never participated in a graduation as a graduate. I was sooo excited, people. I drove to the Taco Bell Arena and didn't even get lost. I parked and put my keys down to grab my cap and gown, made sure I had my phone and my camera, and stepped out the car. I lock my doors wherever I go and I of course locked them then, and about four seconds after I shut my locked door, I realized I didn't have my keys. I looked in the window and sure enough, they were resting on the passenger seat. Doesn't that just figure? I can't have a perfect day! I'll always do something to sabotage perfection! Well, I put it out of my mind and followed some people who were dressed in black robes like me. I got to the check in table where I was supposed to get a card with my name on it. I told my name and they did not have a card for me.  I was frustrated because I'd had so much trouble getting to the point of graduation to begin with. Somehow, the school didn't have my typing test that I took with them so to them, I hadn't completed a required course for my program. It was a long process but we figured it out, or so I'd been told, but when they told me they didn't have my card, I inwardly panicked a bit. But they told me to go somewhere else and write out a card, which I did. I hoped that my name was in the program.

After that, I turned to find a seat and that's when I saw Joy, a woman from my classes, and Teresa, the best instructor ever ever. This semester I had three classes with Teresa. She is AWESOME! Joy took this photo for us (Look! I look like a graduate!):


I'm kinda bummed about my hair because I had it SO CUTE before I got there. Don't know what happened, maybe the wind outside.

Anyway, that's Teresa, and I just love her. She was a wonderful instructor; very knowledgeable, kind, compassionate and skilled. I will miss seeing her seven hours a week! Normally, I'm quite shorter than she, but I had on these amazing heels I'd just purchased. :)

Teresa had seen the program and assured me my name was in it! YAY!

Then Joy, Connie and I found a row of seats together and waited for some others from our class. So here's the three of us.

Wonderful women they are! So proud of them!

I kinda felt like I was in a Harry Potter movie, seeing so very many people in robes and caps. It was very exciting. I was a graduate! I was looking around at the hundreds (around 600 total) of graduates, and I was so proud of them all! I love CWI for very many reasons, and one of those reasons is the great diversity of people. All ages attend, all religions, all family stations, all walks of life (except, perhaps, the very rich). I was thinking of all the stories that were in that room with me. All the trials and the joys, and I was just so proud of every single student there! Look what we did!, I wanted to shout. Look what we all did! We made it through despite our unique challenges, and we're all here now, at our graduation! I would bet that to most everyone there, graduation meant so much more than completing a few academic courses. I wanted to know everyone's story, and to tell them all how incredible they are to have done something great with their lives.

Though I was proud of them all, I was mostly proud of my class. These are the women I've spent the last 8 months with, and I love them and I will miss them! Here's a few more of them:
L to R: Kayla, Connie, Me, Teresa, Darcy (our department head, and a fantastic woman, looking here especially Harry-Potter-esque), and Joy. The other women in our class that showed up later were Elizabeth, Christina and Lia, and I wish I'd had a picture with them as well, but I didn't get one.

This is already pretty long and I have so much more to say so I'm ending here for now. Thanks for reading!

Education Story

And on this day, May 12, 2012, I am a College of Western Idaho graduate. A graduate! Me! I graduated!! I have a Professional Technical Certificate in Medical Administrative Support. And I graduated.

I began my higher education at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah in 2000. For the first time in over four years, I went to classes in classrooms. I had been home-taught during grades 10-12. Before that, I attended private schools, and before that, I was homeschooled following kindergarten and 1st Grade, when I attended Bennion Elementary School in Bennion, UT.

Snow College was, at first, a terrifying and greatly exciting time for me. The terror quickly faded and I loved my time in the classroom. I loved everything about school. I loved the freedom, the homework, the learning, the tests, the finals, even. I loved the professors and the students. I loved my roommates. I loved that I made the Dean's List every semester I was there. I loved the smell of campus and the taste of A's. I loved Ephraim. I loved the Spirit of Snow College.

I naturally chose English as my major. I love words, and since Kindergarten, I've dreamed of being a writer. So, English major it was. I intended to get my associates at Snow and then continue onto a Master's degree from USU. In addition to wanting to be a writer, I also wanted to be a professor.

But, things don't usually happen as planned, and due to circumstances I need not discuss here, I dropped out after a year of school. It was a very difficult and sorrowful decision, but I still know it was the best one. I moved back home to Nampa with my parents and started working at Blockbuster Video. The following Fall, I started school again at Boise State. I did poorly that semester, because I met and fell in love with my ex husband, Randy. All I could think about was him. He asked me to marry him in November, and I said yes of course, so I didn't return to school the next semester, but got married in March of 2003.

Then happened the whole marriage fiasco.... Oh, and two fantastic kids. :)  When the divorce began in 2007, I knew I'd need something better for my kids. I moved to Rexburg in 2008 and started school in January 2009 at BYU-Idaho. I knew that I needed to change my major because I didn't want to be in school for the next 6 years trying to get a master's degree in English, and I knew that a bachelor's in English was about as good as a GED. I changed my major to Communications with Public Relations focus, because that way I'd still get to write.

It was so great to be back in the classroom again, but it was so different as a mom. I had to work out daycare and work and homework and housework and I had to fit feeding my kids somewhere in my schedule. They were 5 and 4, still so young. I was driving back to Nampa every other weekend for my ex's visitation. Every month was a huge financial struggle because I wasn't using student loans. And I was going through an insane custody battle with my ex. I was in Rexburg 2 years, 2 very dark and trying years, the most trying of my life. And so in the middle of my 3rd semester, April of 2010, I'd had enough. I was burned out, deflated, depressed. I couldn't take another day of school. I interviewed for a job in Meridian and I got it, and I moved home about one second after my two weeks' notice with my employers was complete. I never wanted to see another text book again.

That didn't last long. The very next year, I applied at CWI, and was accepted. I didn't attend that year because I focused, instead, on buying my house. The following Fall, last year, I began again my education. But I knew I wasn't going to finish a degree. The very idea was too daunting to undertake. I singed up for the Medical Administrative Support program, wanting to get a better job than the one I had, and return to school several years later when the kids are older.

And now.... I'm a graduate! This education train ride has paused for a time. I'm done with school for a while with both thrills and saddens me. To me, this graduation of a professional program means so much more than one year of school. To me, it represent the blood, sweat, and tears of education that began 12 years ago. To me, it's a testimony that I can do anything I want to do. To me, it's an example to my children, and of what I want for them. It's a representation of my love and dedication to them, my sweet, sweet angels. To me, it's a reminder that God is always with me. Look where He's taken me now!

Today is a very, very special day for me. Yes, I'm proud of myself. I'm so grateful to God for this beautiful opportunity, and for helping me through school. Today, I FINISHED something that I started. Today is the best day of my life, and today is the first day of the rest of my life! (I totally just now made up that phrase. Never been used before, nope.)

Tomorrow I will write about the graduation itself, because, my goodness, do I ever have some stories. :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lonely Vent

I decided that admitting that I am lonely is not necessarily desperate.

So. I'm lonely.

Things have been happening lately, things that remind me of just how much it sucks to be single. Don't get me wrong; I'm not unhappy. Don't get me wrong; singleness certainly has its perks. But when you compare the best parts of being single to the best parts of being married-- well, the difference is vast.

My sister has been single for like a year and now she's already got this boyfriend and they're in love and they'll probably get married and have more kids and have someone to come home to every day, someone to be with every day, someone to love every day. I'm happy for her. I know she loves him. I'm so happy she has someone to love.

One of my old crushes just got married. He's a great guy and deserves to be happy and I'm happy for him, but I'm so bummed that he's out of the picture for me now.

Another of my old crushes is getting married. I'm so happy for him. He has been single for many years and now he's finally getting the happiness he deserves.

I had dinner with a friend and his wife and they've been married for over 5 years and they love each other, they were acting like newlyweds almost, like they weren't even almost sick of each other. They are so happy together.

My kids keep talking about getting a new daddy. They want me to be a stay at home mom! They want to have a daddy in the house. And they talk about it. They even pray for it.

I met this guy, and I really liked him. And there was a moment that I thought maybe something better, something great could come out of this. But we're not meant to be right now, and that's fine, but you know when you have a crush and your crush has a crush on you and it just feels so good? And it's so much fun and you can't help but hope that maybe this is it. I knew it wasn't but I hoped it was. I don't hope that anymore because reality came along, and I'm okay with reality, I'm okay with not having a relationship with this awesome guy, really I am. In fact, I have so many issues right now that I can't fathom being ready for a relationship at all. Yet.

BUT. All these experiences have brought to my immediate awareness that I miss being in love. I long to be in a mutually loving and respectful relationship. I want, so deeply, to be cherished. By a man, a wonderful man.

I've been single nearly five years. If someone would have told me during my divorce that I'd be single five years, I would have been devastated. I wouldn't have been able to hope as I did then. I wouldn't have been able to see as I did then. It would have seemed far too long for me to handle. But I've done it, with God's grace, I've done it. And I can make it another five years. Because no matter how much it sucks to be single, it's never as bad as being in a lousy marriage. I won't do that again. I'd rather be single for the rest of my life than be married to someone like Randy for a day.

In some ways, I feel so ready for marriage. I really want my kids to have a positive male roll model in their lives. I am so much more mature in most ways than I was when I was married. I know that I'd be a better wife now than I ever was before. But in other ways.... I just have too much to work on. I have too much that I don't want to take into a marriage with me. I am too fat! I can't even imagine dating while I've got all this weight on me. I'm constantly aware of my weight. I'm always thinking that all the guys must think I'm undateable because of it. It hasn't bothered me as much as it does now. I don't like how much it's on my mind lately. I'm trying to lose weight but nothing's really happening despite my efforts. And I can't help but think, "Who wants to marry a fat girl?" I'll never have a relationship again with that attitude.

I'm really quite sick of this. I'm sick of being the good girl, just sitting and waiting for some great guy to rescue her. I'm sick of parenting by myself. I'm sick of making decisions by myself. I'm sick of doing this life without a partner to share it with. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Anna's Baptism

Yesterday, January 7th, 2012, my little girl was baptized.

The baptism was at 10:00 a.m. so we woke and started getting ready right away. Anna made sure to eat breakfast before changing into her white dress. Matthias was very good and didn't even throw a fit about getting dressed like he usually does. Everyone was excited. We were supposed to be 15 to 30 minutes early so I decided we'd leave the house at 9:30. The church is very close.

I did Anna's hair and curled her bangs and cleaned the house because we were having people over afterword for a lunch. At 9:25, I told the kids it was about time to go and they came to me and Anna had red Halloween makeup smeared in several places on her beautiful, expensive-ish white dress! I freaked out a bit. I didn't yell but I just said "Anna! Your dress! What were you thinking?!" and she still maintains that she has no idea how it got all over her dress. The day before, our new little puppy Scout

had gotten into the Halloween makeup, just the stick of red, and had chewed it up all over the carpet in front of the bathroom. It was also all over the bathroom floor. I think that somehow, the dress met the floor and that's how the disaster happened. I was so upset about the dress. I tried cleaning it with cold water but it wasn't working too well and we were already later than I'd wanted to be. So I wanted the kids to get together for a quick picture and they did and that's when I saw that Matthias had wet his pants. Are you kidding me? So I had to find him a clean pair of pants and calm him down because he always gets upset when he gets caught and oh my goodness. Then they got together for a picture.

all cute as if everything was perfect. The red is at the bottom of her skirt so you can't see it. And here's one of just the princess:

if you look very close, you can see the makeup. There's more on the other side that the picture doesn't show. But. Isn't she radiant?

So then we left to the church. The roads were covered in a light dusting of snow. That was kinda special because we haven't really had any snow this year. Yesterday's snowfall doesn't really count either, but it was special, I thought, that the roads were covered in white on Anna's baptism day.

We arrived and someone from the Stake immediately helped us figure out what to do and where to go. We went to the dressing room and found a jumper thing that would fit Anna and she changed into it.

There were five or six kids getting baptized that day. The children and their fathers met in a classroom just to go over the order of the baptisms, and all the dads practiced the baptism with the kids. I was the only woman in there! I think I was invited because Anna wasn't getting baptized by her father, and so I was there to be her parent. My brother Chris was there too since he's the one who baptized Anna. I enjoyed watching Anna practice with Chris. We were all then dismissed back to the chapel. Before we got there, I snapped this wonderful photo:

I love them!

Then we went to the chapel and Mom was just arriving. The baptism service was to begin in 10 minutes, so I rushed Mom to the dressing room to show her Anna's dress. She brought her bleach pen at my request, and while she saved the day and went to work on Anna's dress, I ran out to the car to grab the bag with Anna's towel and change of underwear, etc, that we'd left in the car. I made it back to the chapel just as the Stake representative was welcoming everyone.

Anna was the first to be baptized! After some songs and some talks, we all went to the Relief Society room and the font divider was opened. Anna and Chris went into the font and all the little cousins gathered at the front of the room on the floor, close to the font, as is tradition, so they could see it happen up close. But then the kids' heads were in the way of my view, so I stood. And as my brother raised his arm to the square and said "Anna Danielle Montano," I got teary.

This was my baby! My little baby newborn, and now she has chosen to be baptized, and now she's old enough to be baptized! I was filled with such pride, such honor of having such a faith-filled daughter. Then Chris said "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." and into the water she went, immersed completely, and all her sins were washed away, and she was baptized. She emerged a clean soul. And now, because of that baptism, she can repent of her sins and be forgiven EVERY TIME she makes a mistake.

After that, I went into help her out of the font and we returned to the dressing room. She was cold. She was happy. She was cute. We got her dried off and dressed again. I wished I'd packed her detangler spray. When she was ready, we went to the primary room for her confirmation.

My Dad was the one to confirm her a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and bestow upon her the gift of the Holy Ghost. In the circle stood Dad, of course, Chris, Cameron, Casey and my friend Jeff. When the blessing was done, Anna hugged Jeff, and then started to leave! Chris pulled her back so she could hug everyone else. It was cute. It was only because she hadn't seen Jeff, yet. He and his family were late and missed the baptism, so she was basically just greeting him. But it was funny.

Anna's primary teacher from last year was there and gave her a gift, a journal, with a beautiful note the teacher had written. That was sure nice of Sister Hipwell.

In attendance were: Myself and Matthias, Mom, Dad, Cameron, Casey, Melanie and her kids Morgan and Lydia, Chris and Christine and their kids Kaien, Emmy, Ammon and baby Ezra, Kim and Kadin, Jeff and Astrid and their kids Samantha and Gabriel, Patty from the primary and her daughter Anne, who is Anna's age, Brother Ross who was the ward rep- he's a new bishopric member in our new ward, and Sis Hipwell. Oh and Brother Ross's son Brennan who was in my primary class last year, and whom I just adore. The ward members left right after the confirmation and the rest of us stuck around for pictures.
the first one is sans myself because I was taking the photo. The next one is sans Melanie for the same reason.

And here's Mom (me, duh) and the girl of the hour:
 Dad who confirmed her and Chris who baptized her. They are so weird about smiling.
 I told them they should work on smiling and this is what happened.

After the pictures, we all headed to my place for some lunch. Anna and Matthias wanted to ride with Kimmy so I drove home alone. And I reflected on the morning. And my heart was filled with joy and peace and love, and I felt like what happened that day was exactly what should have happened that day, and that God was aware of us and aware of my daughter's choice, and that He approved of it, and was pleased with it. And I remembered my own baptism on March 4, 1989 and how great it felt at the time, and how a cried a single tear during my confirmation.

It was truly a beautiful joy-filled morning.

The Lunch didn't go over quite so well. I didn't have enough beef for the taco salad, but there were plenty of beans, and I also forgot to get paper plates, and I didn't have enough plates for everyone!!! Some of us had to wait for someone else to finish before we could eat! I felt bad, but most everyone was very forgiving and understanding, and didn't hold it against me. I love my family, truly. In fact, most of my guests didn't complain at all. I'm so grateful for them.

After lunch, I presented to Anna her baptism gift from me. I wrote a book for her. It's not professionally printed yet, but it will be. I read it to her and my guests (poor things). Anna loved it, and so did my Dad! Everyone but Jeff & Astrid and Chris & Christine took off one second after I finished reading it so I began to beat myself up about it, thinking maybe I should have read it to just Anna after everyone left. But I kinda wanted to make it a big deal for my princess, I wanted there to be witnesses to what I felt was a very special gift to my daughter. I worked very hard on it. But it wasn't FOR anyone but Anna and I started to worry that my family and friends thought it was selfish and dumb of me to force them to hear it. And then I tried to remind myself that it doesn't really matter if other people approve of my choices as long as God does, and presenting a gift in the way I wanted to present it wasn't a choice that bore any eternal consequences. I was pretty much going crazy over it, worrying about how my family saw it and trying to console myself, when I got a text from my dad. He said it was a "wonderful story" and he thinks Anna will love it more and more through the years. And with that text, my anxiety over the issue was dispelled and everything was okay. I was very grateful for it!

I'm a little crazy but that's okay. The important thing is my baby girl was baptized. That night in her bedtime prayer she thanked our Father that she was able to be baptized and asked Him to help her not to make any mistakes for the rest of her life, and that if she did, to help her repent. It was very sweet and perfect for a prayer just after baptism. I love that little princess.