Wednesday, May 22, 2019


Grandpa’s Miraculous Recovery
As shared during Family Home Evening on 5/20/2019
Recorded by Jamie Melin

We gathered Monday 5/20/19 at the ranch for a simple soup dinner and a visit with Grandpa after his harrowing 10 days away. Aunt Marti Mayberry and Grandma Lyn joined us as they were in town until Tuesday for Niles’ baptism.

Grandpa Tom suggested we sing “I Am A Child of God,” which is a song he sang to himself when he was in excruciating pain in Helena. His nurse was told to give him a shower, and as the water ran over his head and ran down his neck, it seeped beneath his infected skin and formed little blister-like pockets and it was painful. The nurse had to pull off the skin and she cried as she did it because she knew how much it hurt Grandpa. As she worked, he sang, to himself, “Lead me, guide me/ walk beside me/ Help me stand the pain/ Help me do what I must do/ and live with you again.”

On Thursday May 9th, mom shared over text a photo of Dad showing the progression of his infection on his face, and told us it had progressed to cover his legs and back, so they were staying at the VA Hospital in Helena to figure out what was wrong and save his skin (and possibly his life—we need the protection of our skin!).

On Friday May 10th, Dad was Life-Flighted from Helena to the University of Utah hospital Burn Center to treat the infection—it was diagnosed as some kind of staph infection plus some herpes outbreak from the cancer drugs, and hopefully not MRSA (!?!?!). We celebrated Ammon’s birthday at home and attended his baseball game, all the while planning how to support mom and dad through this trial. At the game, we decide that Rich and James would drive down early in the morning to be with Grandma Melin on Mother’s Day and help support her as she helped Dad through his suffering. I stayed home so the girls could perform their play all weekend, and the little boys could have a normal, calm weekend. My kids made it a peaceful Mother’s Day for me here, and Grandma Melin was so grateful to have all 5 of her kids with her on Mother’s Day. They took a break from the hospital to attend “Music and the Spoken Word” down the street at temple square, and enjoyed a beautiful program honoring mothers. Grandma also had the support of her brother Dan and Grandpa’s sister, Judy, and they all enjoyed an otherwise beautiful day. I t looked like the antibiotics and dressings administered at the Burn Center had done their job, so Grandpa was transferred to the Huntsman Cancer Institute on Sunday. Monday morning Dad seemed stabilized and in good spirits when Rich and James headed home.

On Monday, 5/13 we were told that Grandpa was out of the woods, but healing could take 3-4 weeks, so he and Grandma made tentative plans to settle-in in SLC. This was upsetting to Grandpa, though, because he wanted so badly to be at Niles’ baptism on Sunday 5/19.

On Tuesday, “Doctor G” was so surprised by how fast Grandpa was healing that he began to call him “Miracle Boy.”

On Friday 5/17 in the morning, the doctor came in the morning and told Grandma to book a flight home for Saturday because Grandpa was well enough to go home Saturday, as long as he got 2 units of blood before he left to strengthen his immunity (remember, he’s fighting leukemia as well as an skin infection). Grandpa said his heart sank when they mentioned the blood because his type is O-negative with some hard-to-match antibodies. The nurses assured him that one of the seven area blood banks would come through.

At 3pm Friday, the medical team began to get discouraged. They hadn’t been able to find Grandpa’s blood type in any of the blood banks. They said the banks would continue searching and would call back by 7pm so the transfusion could take place over night.

At 6pm, Grandma said, “Let’s say a prayer and ask for the blood to be located so that we can make it to the baptism.” Acting in faith in God’s promises in D&C 82:10 (“I the Lord am bound when ye do what I say, but if ye do not what I say, ye have no promise”), they decided to pray and ask the Lord for this righteous desire.

At 7pm, "Nurse Kris" came into their room and said, “I’m sorry; we couldn’t find the blood.” Grandpa told her, “Don’t be sorry; the blood will come. Let’s show some faith by at least making the preparations for a transfusion.” The sweet nurse was willing to do those preparations, even though she knew there would probably be no transfusion.

Grandpa drifted off to sleep, but at 10:30 pm on Friday night, Nurse Kris woke him and held up two units of blood. “Look what I have! Two units of blood with your name on them! Let’s do this!” At 10:45pm on Friday, the first transfusion began and it took until 1:30am. Then the second unit was administered from 2am-4am Saturday morning. By morning rounds, Grandpa was in ship-shape and ready to catch a plane home that night. Grandma started driving home and Uncle Jess prepared to pick up Grandpa from the airport, while our family was entertaining baptism guests and celebrating Niles’ 8th Birthday, trying to maintain a sense of normalcy and calm for the kids. So while 10 of us watched the girls in “Beauty and the Beast,” Grandpa and Grandma got their miracle. We headed home to the news that Grandpa and Grandma were home safe in their beds and would come to Niles’ baptism the next day. Grandpa was able to perform the Confirmation ordinance for Niles.

Of course there was much rejoicing upon seeing Grandpa and Grandma in the chapel at 12:30 on Sunday afternoon. I was busy setting things up and getting Niles ready, but when I stepped into the chapel and saw them, I burst into unexpected tears of gratitude and joy, and I turned around and walked right back out to the foyer to compose myself. I don’t know why I haven’t gotten used to it yet, but I am continually astounded by God’s tender mercies and the magnitude of His love for us.

I testify He will move mountains (or blood units) to grant our righteous desires. As the song goes, He “delights to own and bless you if you strive to do what’s right; He will bless you if you put your trust in Him.” Exact obedience binds the Lord. Prayers of faith (from temple rolls and families all over who love Grandpa) call down the powers of Heaven. Always. 
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Friday 5/10- Grandpa suffering in Helena while we watch Ammon's
birthday teeball game and check texts from mom and Mike

The photo of Dad that mom sent on Friday 5/10

Staying with Uncle Dan and Aunt Ellie in SLC 5/11/19
Rich, Mom, Dan (her big brother), Ellie (his wife), Mark, and Mike

Dad in SLC 5/11/19

Grandma and Grandpa at home with
freshly-baptized Niles, 5/20/19

Niles' Baptism Invitation
Parents with Niles moments before greeting Grandpa & Grandma

Monday, April 29, 2019


Dear Loved Ones,

If you thought we were busy the first half of April, OH EM GEEEE! It has been a crazy and awesome two weeks at Casa Melin Ranch for Free-Range Children. When last we wrote, Niles and Ammon were just starting their baseball/tee ball games and Adeline and Kristina were knee-deep in almost nightly rehearsals for Beauty and the Beast. All of that is still happening and it’s still a little too cold for evening baseball games, but we are enduring and eating a lot of hot dogs.

Wednesday 4/17 Ammon had practice and the girls had rehearsal and Heidi and James and Rich went to YM/YW. Heidi learned how to lead music and brought home a cute baton from Sister Denniston. The kids were out of school Thursday, Friday and Monday, but it was a little too cold to do fun outdoor stuff. We did a lot of chores and food preparation for Easter weekend, though. Friday night (4/19) was Ammon’s first tee ball game (endlessly entertaining) followed by a Hawaiian BBQ dinner of pineapple chicken, Kahlua pork and cabbage, rice, fruit, spam musubi, and panipopo. It had been way too long since we ate that stuff—it was delicious! And it inspired us to watch Moana again, too. The Caspers arrived late that night to come spend Easter with us. On Saturday 4/20, we all attended an Easter Egg Hunt followed by an Easter Luncheon at the church with our ward family. It was SO FUN! We came and chilled out for a while. Rich did some work on his Beetle and Rhett hung out with him a bit. In the afternoon we went downtown to get some gifts at Obsidian, then walked over to Gil’s for some pastries and drinks. We had fun showing Caspers our cute downtown. The weather was kookydooks all day—freezing cold rain one minute, 70-degree sunshine the next, violent thunderstorm the next. It was pretty fun. Heidi and Niles went to chase down a Pokémon and got caught in a cloud burst! About that same time, Addie and Kenyon were leaving to go on a special birthday date she planned for him while we were on Spring Break. They went to get dinner at Pine Creek Lodge and see the duo Fox and Bones play at the café. We discovered Fox and Bones back in March and liked their name because Addie loves foxes and Kenyon’s nickname (he’s a jazz drummer) is Bones (Kenny Bones Jones, hahahaha), so it was a special surprise for Kenyon. The band even sang Happy Birthday to him!  Meanwhile, back at the ranch (home), we had planned to order pizza for dinner but the power was out on the south side of town which meant Rosa’s and Domino’s and Matt’s Meat shop were all shut down, so Rhett and Rich got creative and ordered pizzas from 49er Diner while Chasta and I prepped food for Sunday. After eating pizza and reading our Saturday scriptures, we all headed downstairs to watch Life is Beautiful. It was beautiful as ever! Rhett pointed out how it was suitable for Easter eve since there is a father laying down his life for his son as we remember our Savior laying down his life for all of us. Sweet!

Sunday 4/21 was a cold and cloudy morning, but we were so happy to be at church and partake of the sacrament and sing hymns to our Savior! Kenyon joined us for the first time, and unbeknownst to any of us, his friend Lincoln gave one of the talks in Sacrament meeting! So awesome. The Primary kids sang “Gethsemane” and “Jesus is Risen.” Janelle Bowden (the other Primary counselor) and her 5-year-old daughter, Draya, sang “He Sent His Son” and it was THE. SWEETEST. EVER!!! That child just owned it and it was so touching! We had a wonderful day in Primary as usual. We were running late, so parents and youth started filing in the back of the room as we did closing exercises. Addie and Kenyon peeked in and Robyn noticed them just as we were singing Happy Birthday to the Baker twins, so she called Kenyon up so the Primary could sing to him, too. It was so adorable! After church, we went home and ate sandwiches for lunch and listened to Lower Lights and TabCats while everyone took naps, studied scriptures, played games, or made food. At 5pm, Kenyon and his parents (Machele and stepdad Shawn) joined us for Easter Dinner/Kenyon’s birthday celebration. The ham and funeral potatoes still needed about a half hour in the oven, so we decided to have a little Easter devotional downstairs in the basement. We watched a few of the church videos, like “Because of Him” and one by Elder Holland, too. Once the Spirit of Easter was sufficiently present and felt and shared, Rich asked Rhett to offer a prayer on the food before we went upstairs for dinner. It was a beautiful prayer full of heartfelt gratitude for the atonement of Christ and for eternal relationships and for the abundance we enjoy. All 16 of us (plus Mr. Tumnus) gathered upstairs for a delicious meal of ham, funeral potatoes, homemade cheesy mac, garlic green beans, salad, stuffed chicken breasts, and rolls. We visited at the table for a while, then moved the party to the living room. We had an impromptu little sing along, with Heidi on ukulele. First Caspers sang the birthday medley to Kenyon, then Addie, Heidi, and I sang “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” Addie played and sang “I Lava You” with Melin and Casper girls on backup vocals.  Then we enjoyed dessert—Kenyon blew out the candles on the special birthday brownies Addie made him cuz he doesn’t like cake, and we also had Easter Hummingbird cake with cream cheese frosting. After a little more visiting, K’s parents headed home and Rich got the little boys to bed, the rest of us snuggled and got to talking about Erin and had a good cry/laugh/hug-fest. Around 10pm, the kids started watching The Phantom of the Opera, but I was too tired, so I finally went to bed around 11pm.

Monday 4/22 there was no school, so we all slept in and ate yogurt parfaits for late breakfast while Caspers got their car loaded up. We said our goodbyes and they headed home to Utah. I took the little boys and Addie to the park to play ball and blow bubbles and ran some errands and washed my car. I started cooking all the meats for Heidi’s and Summer’s Quinceanera Taco Bar on Friday night, then shredding and freezing them. We ate Easter dinner left overs and the girls went to rehearsal and the boys went to bed early because SCHOOL on Tuesday. Addie finally got her ‘promposal' from Kenyon on Tuesday, though by then it was just a formality, but a lovely one. When they first started dating, Addie read The Little Prince to him, so he made water color copies of all the planets in the book and wrote her a pretty note that said she was the sweetest most beautiful girl on ANY planet, and asked her—“The Little Prince(-ss)”—to Prom. She was over the moon. They didn’t have rehearsal that night, so K’s mom invited them over for dinner and studying at her house. I’m glad when they do that because I feel like Addie is hogging him sometimes. The rest of the week consisted of school, games, rehearsals, and preparing for Heidi’s and Summer’s party on Friday night. The High School kids didn’t have school Friday, so they helped set up the church gym with the Jelli Melins, the Joneses, and the Smiths. The “Prom Kids”—Addie and Kenyon, TJay and his CA girlfriend Annelise, and Jeanette Jones and Kai Johnson, all took a rainy hike and picnic up to Pine Creek. Despite being freezing cold they had a blast, crazy kids. I got all the food ready and set up a taco and nacho bar. On his lunch, Rich picked up two cases of Jarritos sodas that our friend Ponciano Gomez ordered for us through his restaurant. At 6:30 pm we gathered for dinner and dancing. About 75 people came and ate dinner, including Rich’s sis Angie and her family who came to see Grandpa Melin on a perfectly party-ful weekend. After dinner, we turned down the lights for a fun family boogie session, then at 8:30 we turned up the lights again so the girls could open gifts and the kids could pound the pinata. Guests began to scatter, but family and friends stayed and helped clean up. It was so fun to keep the dance party going as we all worked. We were all home in bed by 10pm, which was AMAZING! Our girls had a blast and felt appreciated, and our families bonded even more, which was the goal!

Saturday 4/27 was both the Opening Day ceremonies and games for Baseball and Park High Prom 2019…monumental, people. We slept in a bit and took the boys to opening ceremonies at 9:30am, followed by Ammon’s game at 10am. Addie and The Prom Kids left on their day date to see Avengers:Endgame in Bozeman at the 10:45 am showing. Sadly they arrived pretty late and had to scatter and/or sit on the floor, but they saw the movie! Meanwhile, Kristina, James, and Heidi slept in and chilled at home. We came home for lunch between Ammon’s and Niles’ game and Jess and his boys helped Rich get the Beetle all tuned up and ready for TJay to drive to Prom. I grilled up some Brats for the dudes, then cleaned my very messy kitchen (and a million serving dishes from the party), then took a bunch of hair-do stuff over to Robyn Jones so she could do a bunch of Prom hairstyles. I came home and rested and waited for Addie to get home from the movie and go over to Joneses’ for the getting-ready festivities. We were supposed to be there by 3:30 but Addie was lollygagging and Heidi and Sophie wanted a ride to a 4pm movie, so I took them at 3:45 and went to Robyn’s by my (exasperated) self. Rich drove Kristina over to her friend Katharina’s house to get ready for Prom with other foreign exchange kids who were excited for their first (and probably only) American Prom. Addie arrived at Joneses’ a few minutes after I did and we hurried and got her hair styled and her make-up on, then did Kenyon’s hair, and went over to Lincoln School to meet up with all the other parents of the prom-goers to take photos. The light was beautiful in the old school house and the kids looked just stunning. Our little gang of six hurried over to eat dinner at Neptune’s and they were off to the prom. The rest of the families gathered at Jess and Kelli’s for pizza, while I drove James to the 7:30 show of Endgame and picked up Heidi and Sophia from the 4pm show. Uncle Mike Melin was in town for the weekend, so he came home with us from Jess’ house and slept in the little boys’ room. We were all asleep by 10:30. As for me, I don’t think I have ever been so tired in my life! I wanted so badly to wait up for Addie and talk about the night and see her pictures, but I just could not move or keep my eyes open! They got home around 10:45 pm and changed into comfy clothes and hung out until Kenyon’s midnight curfew.

When Addie woke up Sunday 4/28, she reminded me of Disney’s cartoon Cinderella on the night after the ball, where she is walking around humming to herself on cloud nine. After a hard week, I was so glad to see my girl’s dreams come true on prom night. Everyone deserves that at least once in their lives! We had a wonderful church meeting, including a talk by Robyn Jones about home church that was so sweet and spirit-filled. Janelle and Robyn collaborated on a fun springtime singing time that included an umbrella and lots of fun songs, and I got to substitute in Sunbeams. I only had Harrison Baker in my class, so Ammon joined us, too. We talked about two stories that Jesus told us about being loving and forgiving. Cute little 3-year-old Harrison said, “Oh, I know this story! It’s about the guy in the road and the guys who didn’t help him but one guy did who was his enemy but then he was his friend.” Yep. The Good Samaritan in a nutshell. We also talked about forgiving 70 times 7. I asked what be forgiving means and Ammon said “It’s when somebody chooses to be mean but you choose to stay nice. Like Jesus.” Again—forgiveness in a nutshell. Sunbeams RULE. Poor Kristina and Addie had a long rehearsal from 1pm-10pm on Sunday. This is their last week of practice—the play opens Friday, 5/3, so this week is do or die, or “Hell Week.”  Heidi is helping backstage at the play by learning how to use skin glue and latex to put on the beast’s prosthetic face and horns. She is loving that job and learning cool things from the Hollywood guy who volunteered to help with the production. We went ahead and had naps and home church without them, then I started this letter and Rich and the boys watched “Relative Race” on BYUtv. It’s time for bed and preparing for another, slightly less busy week. On Friday I leave for Utah with my little boys. We will celebrate cousin Gavin’s birthday and baptism, and I will escort my precious Tarah Casper through the Manti Temple as she receives her endowment. I am honored and humbled to go with her and know her sweet mama will be with us, too. Rich will stay home with our big kids and take them to the temple Saturday morning, which I believe is just what they need as they begin a busy performance schedule as well as all the work to finish up the school year.

Time is flying and we feel so blessed to be busy with so many good things. We love and miss all of you so much and wish you a great week!

Love, Jamie and Rich and Family

4/16: PLAY BALL! Niles' first game of the season

4/16: me being sad cuz I'm freezing

Our cute nephew Liam is heading to the Philippines in July!

Ammon at T-Ball Practice

Sweet little crocus braving our cold spring

Kenyon and Addie on an Easter Break bike picnic

4/19: Ammon playing short stop

First at-bat ever!

4/20: Ammon and Callen at the Easter Egg Hunt

Addie and Kristina and Heidi at the Easter Egg Hunt

4/20: Niles and Heidi got soaked in a rain storm

4/21: Eliza, Me, and Tarah at Easter dinner

Silly kitchen selfie with Addie and Kenyon on his 18th birthday

Easter eggs about to become chicks!

Niles drew this cute bunny on his egg.

Addie and Kenyon made these cute deviled egg chicks for Easter

blurry snapshot of Easter dinner set-up

4/21: Addie and Kenyon at Easter/Birthday dinner

Kristina, Heidi, and James

James, Tarah, and Eliza

Addie and Kenyon singing Happy Birthday

Ammon really wanted to blow out Kenyon's candles,
but Addie saved the day.

This insta post started a sweet conversation
at the end of our Easter night. We are so grateful!

Young Ones 2.0...well, half of them anyway ;)
4/26: Celebrating Summer and Heidi!

Uncle Mike and Cousin Danny

Heidi, Kristina, and Dan Pablo Smith


Ammon with Heidi's light-up bow tie

TJay dancing with his little sis


These two cuties

Freshman Girls


Pinata time!

Perfect Pinata hat!

Me, Rich, and our birthday girl

All the Jelli Melins!

Girl Gang

Re-creating their baby picture

That's our favorite picture ever of Heidi and Summer
when they were 2 months old

4/27: Beautiful Day for a Tball game!

Ammon at bat

Look at that big sky!

Chillin' as catcher

4/26 from Addie's Insta stories...hiking with the Prom Kids
in the rain 

4/27 from Addie's Insta stories...
dinner at Neptunes

PROM 2019
4/27,  4-5pm: Getting Ready with all the girls at Joneses'

Kenyon patiently waiting

Kelli and Summer

Clara and Jeanette

Kate and Clara

Elizabeth and Brianna

The Dads

Proud Dad and lovely daughter

Kai and Jeanette

Kenyon and Addie

Annelise, Jeanette, and Adeline

Kai Johnson and his awesome sox

Prom Kids

Old School Glamour

Stylish Feet

Back-lit Beauty

TJay in Rich's Beetle heading to Prom


Grandpa’s Miraculous Recovery As shared during Family Home Evening on 5/20/2019 Recorded by Jamie Melin We gathered Monday 5/20...