Sunday, December 10, 2017

Babies Change the World

This is a picture of me with Adeline on November 21, 2001, just after she was born in Utah. I am talking on the phone to my Grandpa in Arizona and he is telling me my world will never be the same..."Isn't it wonderful!?"
Adeline at 3 weeks old

Adeline received her Patriarchal Blessing tonight and it was like nothing I have ever heard. The counsel was so direct and so powerful, we were completely moved and overwhelmed by the words and the Spirit in the room. I was so humbled to have given birth to this young woman who is promised such great opportunities and blessings, I was almost overcome--I was ugly-crying and felt I might just melt in my chair.

As we drove home, I thought of another mother who heard about what opportunities and blessings would come to her baby--some of them daunting, most of them glorious, and how she must have felt as He progressed toward his destiny. What a holy gift it is to raise up a child! And how exciting to be on the front lines at the very end of the fullness of times! How wonderful that my baby (babies) will help HER baby finish His work! I thought of this quote:

"When God wants a great work done in the world, or a wrong righted...He doesn't stir up His earthquakes or send forth thunderbolts. Instead he has a helpless baby born, perhaps in the simple home of some obscure mother. And then God puts the idea into the mother's heart, and she puts it in the baby's mind. And then God waits. The greatest forces in the world are not earthquakes and thunderbolts. The greatest forces in the world are babies."
- E.T. Sullivan (The Treasure Chest, 1965)

My baby is growing up to be an amazing woman.


Dear Loved Ones,                                                                                                             

Hello from wind-swept, no-snow Livingston! We are grateful we have had clear roads but we are really missing a snowy landscape this month. This has been another busy, blessed week for us.

Monday night we had a fun family night painting rocks with uplifting messages to scatter around town, and then we took treats to our “grandparent” neighbors. I can’t remember what we did Tuesday, but Wednesday was crazy busy. Uncle Jess came to visit us before heading up to the capital for an energy summit on Friday, so he brought over pizza for dinner and visited. I took Addie to the Depot to sing at the tree-lighting ceremony, then took Heidi to get some stuff to lead a craft at her Young Women’s activity, then brought them home in time to grab some pizza and head out to Scouts and Young Women with Rich. The little boys and I stayed home and had cocoa and finished Christmas cards. Thursday Ammon and Niles were home sick with a coughs and fevers—it’s that crazy kind of cough that’s horrible at night, but they feel okay during the day and get stir crazy—lucky me. I still managed to get some treats made for care packages, catch up on laundry, make dinner, then in the evening I went to a make-and-take event at my friend’s coffee shop (we made essential oils room sprays, Christmas scents, for gifts). I stopped and delivered one to Robyn Jones because she has been sick and we had a nice visit. Friday Addie was home sick as well as the little boys. I got my hair cut and mailed things at the post office, then snuggled my sickies and rested in the afternoon. Friday evening Heidi had a friend over and we made Korean food. Rich went on a dinner date with his brothers Jess and Mike, and we worked on music for the ward Christmas party and chilled at home Friday night. Saturday we did morning chores, then the kids drew each other’s names and we went Christmas shopping in Bozeman as a family. It was a little crazy but we made it home at 4pm, just in time for us to get ready for a double date to see the Foo Fighters in Billings with Matt & Naomi Johnson. We had so much fun! The show was totally amazing. They rocked non-stop for an hour, then Dave did some introductions and covers, then they rocked another solid hour, and a great encore ending with “Everlong”—a 3 hour show. So much energy and natural talent. And I was pretty impressed that we old people could stay out until 2am and be at meetings at 9am ;) We can’t do that very often, though—I’ve caught the boys’ cold and I am draggin’ tail today.

Sunday—today—was the crowning jewel of the week. The choir sounded like angels at practice today, even though we only got to practice for 20 minutes. Sister Hansen and her daughter spoke in sacrament meeting and gave great, focused talks. We slept like the dead during our naptime from 2-4pm. Then we fed the kids and Grandma Melin came over to stay with them while Richard and I took Adeline to Bozeman to receive her patriarchal blessing from Patriarch Marlowe. She faithfully fasted the whole day and the blessing was like nothing I have ever heard before.  Rich and I were blown away and ugly-crying. It’s amazing and humbling to think that we brought this blessed creature into the world. She is going to make it so much better and we feel so grateful to be her parents. We are privileged to have five tenacious spirits in our care—it’s exciting to imagine what’s in store for each of them as we think about all the things we learned about Addie tonight. I’ll tell you one thing: the work is hastening forward at break-neck speed. All those things we sing about in Hymn #2 are happening and progress is accelerating exponentially. I picture the stone cut out of the mountain without hands rolling forward, accelerating, and if we don’t roll WITH it, we will rolled over BY it. So we hasten. We’re lighting the world in small ways every single day, the best we know how, and not just for 25 days (although that has been super fun!)--Exciting times!

We hope you are all well and happy. Have a great week and keep in touch!

Love, Jamie and Rich and Family

Happy Rocks from FHE 12/4
Ammon and his bear crashed 12/14

Lighting the World 12/6

Ready to Fight some Foo with Matt & Naomi Johnson 12/9
Foo Fighters!
Having a ball & loving our photo bombers
 (Matt & Naomi were right over Rich's head)
Dave Grohl rockin'out

Dave saying good night like the good ball he is
Addie & her pal Mitch were twinning at church today

Mom & Addie after Addie's PB Sunday night 

Monday, December 04, 2017


Dear Loved Ones,        
We hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! Ours was so fun, we had to take last week off writing our family letter (I was driving back from Great Falls during letter-writing time ;).  This weekend was so full, even now I can barely keep my eyes open, but I don’t want to get too far behind on our letters. I always seem to fade away in December because I’m too busy to sit down—but not this year!

So last time we wrote we have just had Adeline’s 16th bday bash. We celebrated a little at home on her actual birthday (Tuesday 11/21) and then her friends kidnapped her after dinner and had a movie night at Clara’s house. It was lucky that her birthday was the last day of school before TG break. Wednesday all the kids worked together really hard and got the house ready for guests while I made the Thanksgiving turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes. Dad Post arrived around 3pm and had dinner with us. Early Thursday morning we got up and started preparing to host dinner for 20. The Hamlins arrived at 10:30am, and Lehmans a short time later. Mom and Dad Melin arrived around noon. The kids played, the dudes watched football, and my sisters and I bustled around the kitchen getting everything ready.  We ate dinner around 1:30 and had it cleaned up by three. We played some games and talked for a while and took Lehmans downtown to take photos of Lily (Gabe’s daughter, Laura’s granddaughter) in her Christmas Dress. Lehmans headed back to Helena, and the rest of us dug into pie and board games for several hours. We had so.  getting to know our Hamlin cousins. You’d think the kids had all grown up together—no delay in everybody becoming buddies. My heart was bursting with gratitude for good food, cozy home, and loving family.

Friday we took Sara and Rob out to see the ranch, then they had to head home to work Saturday, but their kids stayed til Sunday. Friday afternoon we went to see “Coco.” I could go on and on about that movie, I love it SOOOO much. Just as much as Moana, and for the same reasons: they nailed the culture (there’s a chancla beat down!) and family ties/Grandma/ancestors live on and watch over their descendants. I really felt like some hearts at Disney are’ turning to the fathers’. Good stuff. The kids wanted to listen to mariachi music and eat burritos when we got home, so we obliged. Then the 3 little boys went to bed and the 6 bigs played games . There was a ton of laughter—I loved it!

Saturday we did some chores, then went out to Chico to take an early swim in the hot springs, then Rich bought us all pizza for lunch. We went home and Scott and Brooke Mayberry (my first cousin & his wife) came to stay overnight on their way home from Rexburg to Minot. Of course the kids were over the moon because Scott and Brooke are so fun. We played games and had fun together and took family Christmas pictures. Later the big kids had friends over to watch the British movie “Nativity.” It’s so cute.

Sunday we scrounged up clothes for the cousins and went to sacrament meeting, then grabbed some lunch and left for Great Falls at 12:30. I drove 195 miles to Sara’s house and dropped off the kids, bought some mint lemonade at CafĂ© Rio, and drove 195 miles back home (with my 3 big kids). We got home at 7:30 and I was exhausted---what a weekend!

On Monday 11/27, everybody got back to the grind and I went for a meeting with Ammon’s teacher and got him all ready to start preschool on Wednesday 11/29. The school called and had me come pick up Heidi because one of her friends took her own life Monday morning and the middle school kids were reeling. Heidi was really shaken and we had a very hard week. It has been a growing experience to grieve with her this week.  We love her so much and pray things will level off for her soon. Middle School has been tough. But she is pretty amazing.

Tuesday I kept Heidi home and did laundry and fluffed and lit Christmas trees (the kids each have little trees in their rooms which they decorate with the ornaments they receive each year from Nana and us). Heidi read and did homework and rested, Ammon ‘helped me’( he loves laundry). That night Addie babysat and had gumbo with the kids while Rich and I went to the Big Sky Insurance office party. It was really fun. I scored the coolest woolen Tomten and Rich scored and giant mug of Lindor chocolates. The Bozeman office ladies planned cool games and the food was good. I love the good people Rich works with!

Wednesday was Ammon’s first day of preschool! They have a new schedule that runs from 8:30- 3:30 and includes breakfast and lunch. It seems a little bit long for him, so sometimes I pick him up at 1 or 2. I was going to pick him up before lunch a couple of days (he goes M-TH) but he wants to eat lunch with his friends, so I guess that is great. He really likes it! That day I came home and cleaned house and started doing Christmas cards. That night the kids had YW and Scouts and the boys and I were asleep before they came home!

Thursday I sent the kids off to school and hunkered down to collect and edit all the photos for our ward’s annual slideshow. I built a fire and edited and organized all day. Once the kids came home and we made dinner and did homework and stuff, I lost my mojo. I took Heidi to a Grief support group at the library and came home and watched the Grinch with the boys instead of getting back to my editing.  Heidi’s friends brought her home from the library and we got the kids to bed. Later that evening we learned that Heidi was in need of some professional attention for her grief and depression, so I took her to the hospital for a psych. evaluation. The psych professionals were unavailable, so we came home and they had us come in on Friday.

Friday morning was spent doing a 4-hour evaluation and in-take process for Heidi to get some support and treatment with a private counselor. We have high hopes that therapy, nutrition, spiritual nourishment, and sleep are going to be the healing combination for her. We love her so much and can’t wait to see her blossom and help others with the experiences she is having now. After the in-take, Heidi was genuinely excited to get back to school and be with her friends before D’s funeral at 4:30pm. Right after taking her to school, I had to run and get Ammon from the babysitter (he doesn’t have school on Fridays)and take Rich to Belgrade to pick up his new 1965 VW beetle. He is in love ;) I had to hurry home and get the kids ready for lots of things—Niles to a birthday party at 4:30; Heidi to a funeral at 4:30 followed by a Christmas concert at 5:30; Addie ready for her concert at 6:15; and all of ready for an evening at The Downtown Christmas Stroll! Somehow, we pulled it off. After the funeral and concerts, our family went to Pickle Barrel for soup, then the boys went on a hay ride, then we walked through a couple of stores and came home as it started getting super cold.

Saturday was a regular wintry day of chores and hanging out and baking. We made 8 dozen cookies and 3 dozen tamales to enjoy during the Christmas Devotional broadcast on Sunday night. We cleaned the house and finished putting up our Christmas decorations. It’s fun to see the kids get out their sentimental favorites and talk about their Christmas memories—I LOVE IT! Saturday night Addie had a double date with Mikayla Denniston and Lincoln Jeffery and Matty Johnson. They ate some Mexican food at Fiesta en Jalisco, then walked around the corner to the theater to watch “Coco,” then down the street to Gil’s for hot cocoa afterward. I picked up the girls and they said they had a total blast. In the meantime, Rich got the little boys to bed and Heidi had 2 friends over to hang out. There was a lot of laughter and snack-making, so I think they had a good time. I’m grateful for my sweet girls and their good friends!

Fast Sunday began with choir practice, where 6 of us practiced “Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring.” Testimony was lovely and edifying as always. I will always remember it because Heidi snuggled me through the whole meeting (after she hasn’t wanted to come near me for 3 years). I got to help with Primary music and learned lots of signs for the lyrics of “Stars Were Gleaming.” After church I worked on photo editing for a while while the rest of the fam watched Christmas movies or napped. Addie made sugar cookies and I made tortilla soup and steamed the tamales. While we were working, we were treated to some fantastic caroling by the Jeffery family. Emma held up a blue tooth speaker and she and Gloria danced while Lincoln and Oliver lip synched “All I want for Christmas is YOU” by Mariah Carey into candy canes. When they were done, they gave us the candy canes and a pretty holiday tea towel. IT WAS STELLAR. I wish someone would do that EVERY NIGHT.  We decide we would carol back after the broadcast. We had invited the Jones family (and a few others) to join us, but everyone was sick. Instead, we delivered fresh soup and cookies to the sickies, and hurried home to snuggle up by the fire and watch the broadcast. And it was LOVELY. Afterward, we ate some treats, then made a big plate of goodies for The Jefferys and caroled (the boring old fashioned way) to them. We were just in time for the little boys to catch a ride down their big wooden stair case on a mattress with Emma! What a fun crazy family—BOTH of us.

So that covers both weeks. It has been a HUGE rollercoaster of joy and sorrow and growth in 2 short weeks! We are so excited for Christmas, for these three weeks of anticipation and Lighting the World we have planned. It’s going to be so great. We hope your holiday is equally joyful, and we hope you will feel the Savior’s love for you during the rough patches, because it’s real. And it’s powerful. And it gives us strength to do things we thought we could never survive, and helps us to say and do things to lift others just when they need it most.  That’s why we rejoice this month—like Brother Duncan said in the broadcast: it’s His birthday, but we get all the presents! Savor it all!

Love,  Jamie and Rich and Family

11/17: Flashback to Addie blowing out her candles

11/20: Good Fortune

11/21: Pretty Candle from my visiting teachers

11/21: Addie's ACTUAL Birthday with cream puffs

11/21 at 5:49pm=Addie's 16th BirthMINUTE

11/22: Bubble heads


Heidi and Aunt Sara

Heidi's cool TG graffiti

Me n my Lynnerz

Addie made this Charlie Brown it.

Cousins digging in
Ammon, Kaylee, Cooper, and Niles

The Feasters

Brady, Ammon, Kaylee, Cooper, and Niles

Heidi being swanky

Niles in his handmade native get-up

L to R around the table:
Dad Post, Sara, Heidi Brady, Ammon, Kaylee, Cooper ,Niles, Laura, Gabe, Jared, Darrin, Raef, Adeline, Grandma Melin, James, Uncle Rob, (Rich, Grandpa Melin and me not pictured)

THERE's Grandpa Melin and THE FEAST

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TG Ninja Boy

Sara and Addie

11/24: Brady at the Ranch

Addie and Raef at the movies seeing "COCO"

Chico Hot Springs 11/25: Cooper, Niles, and Ammon

Raef, Addie, Brady, James, Kaylee, and Heidi

After Swim, waiting for pizza

Ammon, Kaylee, James, Cooper, Niles

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The Teen Table: Brady, Raef, Addie, Heidi

11/25: Cousin Games

12.01: Downtown Christmas Stroll

Strollin' at the Murray Hotel; that's Ammon in the Santa Hat listening to The Polar Express (his favorite movie)

James and his friend Derric waiting for the girls choir concert

My Sweet Little Boys

Isabelle, Adelle, ADDIE, Brianna, Aurora ,Clara singing with the Chamber Singers

Jolly Niles

Rich driving his new lil baby.

Merry Christmas to Daddy! 

Babies Change the World

This is a picture of me with Adeline on November 21, 2001, just after she was born in Utah. I am talking on the phone to my Grandpa in Ari...