On May 31st we were able to take Declan to the temple for the first time to receive his endowments. This day was a very special day for that reason, obviously, but what even made it more special was all those that were there to be with him. Granna, Papaw and Alicia where there from Rodney's side of the family, and Mammy and Pappy flew in and surprised me by also flying in Brittani, Chelsey, and Mikael and Henry, and then my amazing sister-in-law Stepahnie drove all the way from Alamagordo, NM to Houston to drop off her kids at her mom's and then drove to Dallas to surprise me. All the surprises were in celebration of my 40th birthday, but having them all at the temple with us was the best present ever. It was a very special day made even better by all those who made the effort to be there with us.
On June 11th my brother Johnathon was in town visiting Declan one last time and we were able to go with him, Decota and Cambria to the temple to do baptisms for the dead together. My dad was able to get about 12 female names and 12 male names from his family tree that we could do the work for, and we were able to help an elderly man and woman who were at the temple with their family names. Since Declan was now an endowed member he was able to preform the baptisms. I think one of my favorite images that I will keep in my head forever will be of looking out from the front of the font to see Declan in the water baptizing Decota with Cambria anxiously looking on from the bench behind the font waiting for her turn. Something about that picture brought such peace and happiness to me. After the baptisms it was so special to see Declan and Johnathon preform the conformations, an uncle and a nephew that are so much more like brothers. After they were done I was talking to the girls as they were changing back into their clothes. Cambria said she was so nervous for Declan that she couldn't take her eyes off him while he was doing Decota's names. Decota said she could feel Declan shaking as he held her. Both of them wanted to make sure he knew he had done a great job. I think the mixture of the image I previously described with the insight into what they were thinking has made it such a sweet memory for me. After we were done, the girls and I left to go to a doctors appointment nearby while Declan and Johnathon stayed at the temple and took all of the male names through for washings and annointings. Declan was so glad he was able to spend that extra time in the temple with Johnathon. As Declan and I talked later he told me he was making a conscious effort to promise himself that he would figure out how to attend the temple at least once a month once he gets home. That boy is always such a great example to me. The girls want to figure out how to do baptisms more often, so I guess I will have to try to figure out this family history stuff so we can try to go more often. I have to admit though, it is a great place to be with those you love. In a world and life filled with so much chaos and uncertainty, it really is nice to walk into a place where the hustle and bustle disappear and you can relish in the peace that you feel within the walls. What a great way to spend time with those you love.