Sunday, September 27, 2015


Dear Loved Ones,   
I was surprised that nearly a month has flown by since I wrote a family letter. Every Sunday night we have had something going on, and then it was time to jump into a busy week again on Monday and I never did catch up. It has been a wonderful, beautiful month, my very favorite time of year. We have thoroughly enjoyed a true Indian Summer. Here are some highlights from September.

We began the month marking five years since we lost Papa Bill. Our hearts just naturally turn toward him and our good memories on September 2nd, so we just talked about him lots and enjoyed sharing memories. Lots of relatives shared memories and pictures on Facebook. It’s nice to be connected that way. That first week of September we had a short little cold snap and we really enjoyed breaking out our sweaters for a few days, but the sun was back for Labor Day.

 Friday September 4th we celebrated James’ 9th birthday a day early with a little after school bowling party with his scout friends. They bowled and played arcade games, then we came back to the house for pizza, birthday cake, and trampoline, all packed into 2 hours. It was fun. We celebrated a day early because on the 5th, we traveled to Helena to attend Cousin Rachel Kinkie’s wedding. It was a crazy trip, but the wedding was beautiful. Rachel and her husband Mike Meredith are a great looking couple and they seem so happy. We enjoyed the festivities so much.

Niles started Pre- Kindergarten on September 8th. He goes to school from 8am til 2:30pm, Monday - Thursday and we were worried it would be too long a day for him. Turns out he loves it and he’s learning lots and playing lots and sleeping better at night. As long as he’s happy we’ll stick with this program.

 September 10-11th I went with Rich to an Insurance conference in Great Falls, MT, while Grandma Melin stayed with the kids. I only attended one meeting with Rich (and awards ceremony and breakfast). The rest of the time I explored GF, shopped, and caught up on some writing. We enjoyed some wonderful meals and a great night’s sleep. I also watched the replay of the Today Show from 9/11/01 on msnbc. It’s always nice to watch that again because it is what we were watching on that day. I like to refresh my memory and emotions of that day so I truly never forget what we’ve been fighting the past 14 years. We returned home rested and refreshed for a fun weekend with our kids.

 On September 12th Addie and I attended a cool Interfaith Service activity planned by one of our YW as a project. We made customizable (with fabric markers) muslin dolls with hospital gowns and blankets for the new hospital to give its pediatric patients. It was such a fun activity, I wish I could have stayed all day, but we had to head home at 2:30 so Rich could go over to Bozeman for the Leadership session of Stake Conference. The general session of stake conference on Sunday was broadcast to our ward building which is always nice. We loved hearing from Elder Pino in Spanish. I was able to understand more than I thought I would, which sparked an interest in actually brushing up on my Spanish so maybe I could speak it someday.

 That following week seemed to be all about harvesting, canning, and baking. I made a double batch of an amazing carrot cake recipe I got from Mom Melin. I made peach salsa and regular mild salsa (I mostly use it in the crock pot to flavor meat for tacos). We still have lots of tomatoes ripening in the garden, and if they survive, I will make spaghetti sauce out of them. I also made dilly beans with an especially strong head of garlic, so they are potent. I used a recipe for spicy dillies (with cayenne) and they definitely are spicy. Not for the casual snacker. But I love them. I ate a whole jar with my brother Matt this weekend. They taste like pepperoncinis. So yay for canning!

 Rich was gone to the Fall Camporee on September 18-19.  We had a movie night on Friday, then chores and canning on Saturday. He came home in the afternoon and cleaned up and rested a bit, then Grandpa and Grandma Melin came over with Uncle Mike and brought us pizza for dinner and gave us the news that they’d received another mission call. Grandpa Melin will be serving as the second counselor in the Billings Temple Presidency and Grandma will be a matron. They will move to Billings and serve three years starting November 1st. Grandpa will be made a sealer, which is such a great blessing for our children. I hope each of them has the opportunity to be sealed in the temple by their Grandpa. I know it was so special for all us grandkids to receive our Patriarchal blessings from Papa Bill. We are very excited for Mom and Dad and we know blessings will flow to our family from their service.

On Sunday the 20th, Grandpa and Grandma graciously came over again to watch the kids for us while Richard, Addie, and I went over to Bozeman for Stake Standards Night. Addie and four of her best friends performed the opening song, “We’ll Bring the World His Truth.” Eden Jones played the piano beautifully while her sisters Jeanette and Clara sang soprano and Addie and Izzi Petry sang the alto. They did a beautiful job, their voices blended perfectly, and we were so very proud of them. They brought the Spirit and set the mood for a wonderful, inspiring night for the youth of our stake. I’m so glad I could be there.

 All last week we worked on our Fall cleaning goals and got ready to have house guests.  Tuesday, September 22 was Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year, the Day of Atonement. I love that holiday and even though we don’t observe it properly, it reminds me to ponder and apply principles of the atonement more earnestly. That afternoon Elder Richard G. Scott of the quorum of twelve apostles passed away. That makes three vacancies in the quorum to fill next week at General Conference. It’s both sad and exciting. I will miss Elder Scott so much. He gave some talks that really changed my life. I will include links on a post script.

 On Wednesday, September 23, Grandma Lyn and my Aunt Marti and Uncle Ralph and flew up to visit us from Sierra Vista, AZ. They got here just in time for dinner. We had a big salad made of greens and tomatoes from our garden, pasta, and garlic bread. Richard and Addie left for a combined youth activity at 6:30. Rich’s deacons were in charge and planned Frisbee golf and dutch oven cobblers at Sacajawea Park. At 7pm Uncle Ralph drove James over to the park to join in the fun, then I took Grandma, Marti and the little boys and Heidi over at 7:45 to have some cobbler and enjoy the warm evening by the river.

Thursday was my 44th birthday and Marti’s 61st. Our family woke up early for scriptures then the kids and Rich gave me some gifts and we had breakfast together. I got a fancy new trash can—I know it sounds crazy, but thats’ what I wanted—and some other nice kitchen stuff.  I saw the kids off then left Ammon with Aunt Marti and went to get my birthday haircut. Afterward Auntie wanted to take me grocery shopping, so Uncle Ralph volunteered to stay with Ammon during his nap and we ladies went to the store. We picked up the kids from school and got ready for a fun birthday dinner at Rib & Chop House. It was an excellent dinner, followed by a drive out to the ranch with Marti and Ralph, where we had a little tour and watched the moonrise over the Yellowstone River. Pretty much a PERFECT DAY.

We enjoyed visits from my brother Matt and family on Friday and Michael and family on Saturday. Friday night was a ward barbecue. Rich took the kids while I stayed home with Gram. Duringthe barbecue we found out my brother Sam and Kristen are expecting a baby girl February 1st—HOORAY!  Saturday morning at 4:30am Richard and Addie went on a youth temple trip to Billings. They got home at 1pm and Rich changed and went to the MSU football game with Aaron Roberts. I asked him to bring home dinner since he was going to be gone all day and he obliged and we tag-teamed. Gram, the girls, and I went downstairs and watched the Women’s Broadcast at 6pm while Rich bathed the boys and got them to bed. Soon we were joined by Michael’s wife Amber and The Jones girls. We enjoyed the meeting, especially Elder Uchtdorf’s story about Great Aunt Rose. There is so much to be happy about in life even in our trials. I was inspired by that meeting and the strength I got from watching it with strong women I love.

Today we enjoyed the best sacrament meeting I have been to in a long time. The speakers were amazing—like conference-level inspiring. Our ward is sending off two more missionaries and they both spoke today. I was so blessed to be able to participate in the program. I sang the intermediate song, “In Quiet Grove,” with Davina Ryszka on the piano and Haylee Speas on the violin. Haylee plays so beautifully, it’s like BUTTAH! She is leaving Wednesday for the MTC getting ready to serve in the Nicaragua Managua mission. I adore her.  Curtis Jeffrey is leaving in three weeks to an undisclosed mission, and he spoke with Haylee today. The closing speaker was my beloved friend Robyn Jones and she knocked an already-good meeting out of the park with her talk on personal revelation. She noted Nephi's consistent pattern of “Seek, Receive, Act” as an example of how we should ask for and use personal revelation. I was thinking after the meeting, if I were the bishop, this Sabbath would be a banner day in my book. Totally edifying meeting, sending off TWO missionaries, good, clean worthy Aaronic priesthood holders performing the ordinance of the sacrament---Livingston Ward is doing pretty  good. We love our ward family.

So Mike and Amber made us a delicious dinner before they headed back to Rexburg. We had a nice time at Haylee’s farewell open house. We kept trying to watch the super blood moon eclipse but all we could see were clouds and then some rain. The girls watched the premier of “Once Upon a Time” and I watched the premier of “Indian Summers” on Masterpiece and I just tucked in Grandma and the girls. Phew! It’s been a great month, a fabulous birthday/birthweek, and we feel so very blessed.

Hope you all have a wonderful week—enjoy conference! Hope Aunt Abby’s Sweet Sixteen Party was awesome. Happy 9th Birthday to Matthew Melin—we will think of you while we watch conference and eat treats! J


Love, Rich and Jamie and Family

Here are three talks by Elder Scott that rocked my young adult world:
Wonderful marriage advice:
Guidance on making big life decisions:
Jesus and the Book of Mormon are our best friends:


1 comment:

Aaron Baker said...

Pursue your object, be it what it will, steadily and indefatigably.
RS Gold


Dear Loved Ones ,                                                                                We've enjoyed a great first week o...