Monday, September 25, 2017

FAMILY LETTER 09.24.17

Dear Loved Ones,      
                                                                                                    
Happy Birthday to Auntie M, Abby, and me today! This is the first year in a long time I haven’t celebrated with Auntie and Gram—I sure missed you guys (but Christmas will be great)! It was wonderful to celebrate with my girls in Salt Lake City over the weekend, though. I am totally exhausted but totally edified. What a wild week we have had!

Last week I wrote you from a hotel in Great Falls with Richard. We got to visit with my sis Sara and her family on Monday night (they just moved to Great Falls 2 months ago)—it was SO FUN to visit and get reacquainted with our far-away nieces and nephews. We got home Tuesday night just in time for homework, soccer practice, and dinner. Grandma made us a yummy casserole and we made a fire and it was cozy and wonderful to be home. Wednesday we unpacked and cleaned up and I had to run to Bozeman to pick up our conference tickets from our stake president, and take Heidi to get a gift between 5:30pm and 7pm. We made it back for YW/Scouts at 7:30pm. Rich had brought the little boys up with him for opening exercises and I was supposed to take them home with me to get to bed by 8pm but they were having too much fun with their friends, so I ended up staying until everyone was done at 8:30pm. We are still struggling to get everyone to bed on time and stay healthy this fall and winter—nobody is cooperating! ;) I think the last of them crashed at 10pm (which is so not cool when the recommended sleep for the little boys is 10-12 hours). Thursday was all about laundry and packing for ANOTHER trip—Girls’ Weekend in Salt Lake City for the Women’s Session of General Conference and my birthday. Heidi went to a big surprise party for her bff Kara Thursday night up in Clyde Park (the high school kids didn’t have school on Friday, so Thursday was a good party night). I was on the pick-up end of the carpool so I squished 9 kids in my van and drove the Party Bus home in the rain blasting car karaoke at 10:30pm. I got the last of them home around 11:15. I was tired but I seriously love those kids.

Friday morning we got the boys off to school, Daddy to work, and Ammon to Johnson’s around 10:30am and we girls drove down to SLC. We took our sweet time (joy in the journey, y’all) and got to our little rental house at 7pm. We unloaded then headed down the street to Trader Joe’s to stock up on snacks for the weekend. We got lots of yummy treats and then some salad and margaritas at Chili’s, which was next to TJ’s. All the big TVs were playing a football game and I noticed it was at UofA. I thought it was cool that we got to catch an Arizona game and cheered for them a few times. It took a few minutes for me to realize that UA was playing the Utes and I was sitting in a pub next to the UofU. I’m glad nobody beat me up, lol. I am also glad the Wildcats won, even though I care nothing about football. We were pretty delirious by the time we got home around 10pm, laughing, eating toasted fava beans & pepitas and frozen bananas, and watching “Stranger Things.” Jill and her girls came up to visit us after their Lehi Homecoming game. Luckily they were delirious, too, and we had a fun little visit. It was cool of them to drive up to see us.

Saturday morning, the girls and I slept in til about 8:30, aet TJs yogurt, and watched more ST. We got dressed and headed out to spend the day exploring downtown. Back at home, Richard was up early for another icy cold 8am soccer game with James, and then Niles. After games, they went to Billings to play at Cabela’s and Scheel’s and to swim at The Reef indoor waterpark. This was a belated birthday celebration for James, and he brought his friend Kinnick along. Rich sent me pix all day and they boys had a blast. The girls and I had fun in SLC. It was Women’s Conference AND ComiCon at the same time, so the crowds were endlessly entertaining. Heidi was dying because those peeps are her tribe and she wished she was in costume all day. She told us who all the characters were as they walked by us because she knows them all! Addie got to spend some of her hard-earned money at City Creek. We found a lovely Lauren formal that fit her perfectly and was marked down to an irresistible price. I also tried to steer her away from anthropologie—she has never been there—but she was sucked in by its siren song and bought a few things.

We had planned to meet up with my Mom and Jill and their girls for dinner but there was a glitch and they were running late, so we went home and changed, fought for another parking spot (the garages were full by 4pm), and grabbed a quick dinner at the Nauvoo CafĂ©. At 5:17 we arrived at the conference center in the rain and waited in line until 5:45 to get seated. Jill didn’t have enough tickets for everyone, so she went to the tabernacle to watch with mom and we took Abby and Belle inside with us. It was WONDERFUL. It always feels amazing to be in a room with thousands of other people with whom you share a bond. I remember attending a regional conference in Raleigh on my mission (with Elder Maxwell presiding). I had been out in the sticks for months, working with my companion, far from other missionaries, in a small branch. I don’t remember what was said in that meeting, but the feeling will be with me forever. As thousands of saints stood to sing “Now Let Us Rejoice,” my worn-out spirit was buoyed up. I realized that I was truly not alone, and that the work we were doing was bigger than we could ever comprehend. I learned to not be weary in well-doing. I learned why we were commanded to meet together oft. That feeling of unity is most certainly a celestial feeling, “memories of how things should be” as Hugh Nibley said, and I love every opportunity I have to feel it, even for just a moment or an hour. In the conference center, I think my girls felt it, too. I got a lump in my throat hearing them sing enthusiastically, “True to the faith that our parents have cherished, true to the truth for which martyrs have perished, to God’s command, soul heart and hand, faithful and true we will ever stand.” YESSS! Of course, all of the talks seemed written for us. I was especially grateful for Sister Jones’ talk about Worth and President Uchtdorf’s “Sad-Glad-Mad” sisters.  Self-respect/Individual Worth and Agency/Accountability (evenfor our attitudes) have been some major issues we have been praying about, so it’s nice to have such direct answers to prayers.  I am so glad we went!!!

After conference, we had to walk right through Temple Square and City Creek to get to our car, so Heidi and I bought an amazing candy apple at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory (it was my gluten free birthday cake!) and Addie had to run back to anthro to get some Rose perfume that smelled too good to pass up 4 hours later. Even with the side trips, we were home safe before 8pm ready to eat treats and snuggle and celebrate together. It was a nice night; I am so grateful for the strong women in my life—especially my amazing daughters! We all got to sleep around 11 and slept in until 8am. We got dressed and cleaned up our little apartment, loaded the car, grabbed more breakfast at Trader Joe’s, and headed home around 10am. It was raining again. We had “car church” listening to some talks and devotionals on the radio, and our beloved “Churchtastic”playlist. It was a lovely drive and we made it home at 5:20—just in time to take quick showers and run to Eden Jones’ YW Recognition Night. It was a lovely evening with our ward family, perfect ending to a perfect birthday. I was showered with cards and kisses by my boys, then enjoyed hundreds of social media messages after they went to sleep…such a great day. I am so thankful for Rich’s hard work to provide these experiences for our family…so many great memories made this week!!!

We hope all is well with you. We love you so much. We are so excited to have another amazing, edifying weekend in 5 days. I hope my heart doesn’t burst!
All our love

Jamie and Rich and Family

Me and Sara at our hotel in Great Falls 9/19
(MAA Insurance Conference)

My favorite drink for the ride home from GF...mint limeade!

Sneak Peeks of Niles' Soccer Pictures on 9/21

Handsome little fella!

9/22-First Day of Fall=some fast-melting snow!
Of course the boys had to build a snowman before school!

Addie on our road trip to Utah 9/22

Addie and Heidi and virgin margaritas in SLC

You're never too old for some Plants vs. Zombies

Addie and Heidi with Grumpy Cat at Trader Joe's


Late night car hysterics in SLC 9/22

Ally Bug came to snuggle Addie. She missed conference cuz it was her homecoming dance.

Isabelle, Jill, and me 9/22

Pretty dress! 9/23

Breakfast at Tiffany's?

Beautiful Sisters 9/23
Walking past ComiCon (and a TARDIS) to the conference center

Temple in the rain 9/23
Waiting in line at the conference center 9/23

Heidi, Mum, and Addie ready for conference!


Selfies during the intermediate hymn

Heidi, Mum, and Addie
heading home, edified 9/23

Mom/Nana, Jill, and Me at post-conference dessert party

Jill and Abby the birthday girl, who is now 18!

Cousin Time- Heidi, Belle, and Addie 9/23

Back in Montana...the boys at The Reef water park in Billings 9/23

James and Kinnick with an Ammon photobomb

Ammon our water baby!

That face!

Niles on the water slides

Nles--so excited, as usual

James and Kinnick sliding

Gangstas eating pretzels

Ammon and Niles at Cabela's

Fun Plan of Salvation puzzle we bought at Deseret Book.

FAMILY LETTER 09.17.17

Dear Loved Ones,

The big news of the week is: RAIN! Halle-freaking-lujah! Our parched, burned state got drenched by our first winter storm and our first measurable rain since July. I haven’t been this excited for rain since I lived in Tucson, waiting for July’s first monsoon storm. I don’t know how the earth reacts to being dry and on fire and then going straight to snow, but I hope it doesn’t create more disaster.

Our week has been lovely. Everyone is settling into the structure of the school year and things seem to be going pretty well. Monday was a nice day of catching up on chores and babysitting Laney again. Adeline came home nauseated and exhausted after seminary and she slept for 3 hours. I was afraid she had already caught a virus cuz she wore herself out, but she was fine after getting some sleep and a nutritious smoothie or two. That night everyone was home for dinner and Family Home Evening. Taking a cue from Standards Night, we had a lesson straight off the “For the Strength of the Youth” webpage. We talked about Work and Self-Reliance, and then Addie went with me to the Smith’s case lot sale, where we only found 2 cases of stuff we need. We also got a little formal dress at Macy’s for 75% off ($55--neighbor, that’s a GANGA!). I’m glad she isn’t sick!

Tuesday we babysat Laney again and cleaned up the fridge and made soccer and lunch snacks. We had a busy afternoon with Niles’ school open house followed by his soccer practice and squeezing in dinner and baths before 7:30...good times! It started raining a bit that night and we were just over the moon. The fall colors seemed to just burst out this week, too. I hope the winter storm doesn’t make all the leaves fall at once. That always makes me so sad. Fall colors are just my absolute favorite thing, so I like when they last into November. And then I want a big snowfall to cover all the dead ugly stuff and make it sparkle, with a fresh dusting of snow every 3 days to cover the dirt. I don’t ask for much ;)

Wednesday is when our storm really kicked up and James’ soccer practice was cancelled while I was driving him there. So we went home and enjoyed a cozy yummy dinner of chicken tacos before Scouts and YW. Rich held a nice Court of Honor for his scouts who earned a ton of badges over the summer. James and his 11-year-old buddies were welcomed into the troop as well. I was going to slip out and take the little boys home to bed, but Heidi needed help on Family Search because the YW were preparing family names to take to the temple on Saturday. We still all got home and into bed before nine which is a miracle.

Thursday was stormy all day. Niles woke up with a cough and sore throat, so I kept him home. I gave him some Emergen-C and a little morning nap and he was as good as new, back to writing rock songs for his rock band (“Rock Rhino”) by the afternoon. He did some drumming for a while, which he does with one arm tucked inside his shirt like the drummer for Def Leppard, then he was up at the piano workin’ on his melodies while I cooked dinner and Ammon played on the iPad. We made our first fire of the season and everyone was home and cozy except for Adeline, who had to work (I bet the open fire at Cluck felt really good on a cold night!).

Friday was a pretty busy day with celebrating the Jones Twins’ birthday, temple trip prep and a baby shower for the Denniston’s new baby Quinnly in the evening. It is wonderful to have so many happy things to celebrate, though. We all went to bed early because Richard and the girls had to wake up at 3:40am to go to the temple for a 6:30 session. I had planned to go back to sleep until 7 but I couldn’t sleep. I got the boys up at 7 and reported to the soccer fields at 7:45am for James’ game. The wind chill was 28* and we were grossly unprepared for that kind of cold. Luckily James’ coach had sleeping bags on the sidelines and a nice mom lent James a knit hat. Playing kept him warm, but Niles and Ammon were freezing. Grandma and Grandpa Melin came so we snuggled the boys in big quilts and kept warm. We went home and did some chores and enjoyed a roaring fire. Jill called me around 11am to let me know that Grandma Sine had passed away after being so sick for the past few weeks. She turned 95 on August 30th...what an amazing life. We will miss her but we are so happy to think of her reunion with Grandpa after 29 years. Daddy and the girls came home around noon and we went to Niles’ game at 2pm. His age group is so entertaining! Niles even kicked a goal. We had a little rest and then at 6pm we had the Jones family over for a big taco dinner celebrating Rex & Bea’s 7th birthday and our 3rd Friendversary. It was a lovely evening. The 5 big girls went over to Denniston’s for a movie night and our boys crashed hard at 9pm. We are so grateful for good friends and all these great families who host the teenagers!

Today (Sunday) has been a little busier than we prefer but it was a good day. We had a nice high council Sunday with messages about the power of music. The youth performed their song from Standards night again for the ward. We came home and fed the kids and I scrambled to get laundry put away so school clothes would be ready and PE uniforms packed, etc. Grandma Rosalie came to stay with the kids while Richard and I attend an insurance conference in Great Falls. We headed out late this afternoon and had a nice dinner and got settled into our room. It was a beautiful drive and and nice night. Princess Bride is on the SyFy channel! I had good phone visits with Dad Post and Sam tonight. I was glad to hear Dad feeling better today, even though I know he is grieving and missing his mom. Thank heaven we know where she is and families are forever. I sure do love ours. In the quiet tonight I have really felt proud of the things our kids accomplished this week and feel so grateful to be their mom and to be on the mission with Richard--he is an awesome companion. Life is good. We hope yours is, too!

All our love and prayers for a great week…
Love, Jamie and RIch and Family

Sunday, September 10, 2017

FAMILY LETTER 09.10.17

Dear Loved Ones,

It is late Sunday night and I have just finished a chocolate coke I mixed up for myself after I got home from stake Standard Night with my girls. For some reason I was thinking about my Grampy and how he showed me how to make a chocolate coke in his kitchen with the Hershey’s syrup that came in a little can you had to poke holes in to pour the syrup out. It was a yummy treat we would share once in a blue moon. Tonight felt like a good blue moon (even though we’re only having red moons these days).

The week flew by in a blur. I can’t believe that Labor Day was just 6 days ago. It was a mellow day here. The girls made plans with friends; the rest of us did some chores in the morning, then RIch took the little boys to hike at Pine Creek with their friends, the Parks boys, while I stayed home and worked on some ward history stuff. We needed to go shopping in Bozeman for yet more school stuff, so we made a family night of it. We ate at Samurai Sam’s, then saw some awesome classic cars, shopped a bit, and came home to bed.

Tuesday was James’ birthday. We had cinnamon rolls and oj for breakfast, then sent him on his merry way for school. After school was a bit busy getting James’ birthday dinner and cake ready while also getting Niles to soccer practice and welcoming overnight guests--Sister Chelsey Styer, who served here last year as a missionary, came back to visit with her mom. James asked for pepperoni pizza for dinner, so we ate pizza, then opened presents, then The Dixons and The Styers were here for cake and ice cream and all that hullaballoo. James mostly got gifts to prepare him for Boy Scouts. Rich is so excited to finally have a son in scouts with him (well--almost, he’s only 11, but well on his way). He got a new scout manual, a nice big back pack, and a 20* sleeping bag, as well as a history book, and some favorite snacks. Earlier he got a new lego set and some aircraft identification cards from Grandpa and Grandma. It was a pretty good birthday for him.

Wednesday was another mellow day, with soccer practice, homework, a quick dinner, and church meetings. I’ve been having to go up for opening exercises to help all the youth learn a song to perform at standards night, so we did that and then the boys had a special meeting about earning their Eagle Awards and the girls had a spa night. I had a snuggle night with my little guys, freshly bathed and lotioned up with lavender...they are getting so big so fast, these snuggly nights will be history soon :(

Thursday we babysat little Laney Dixon, who is now 6 months old. The kids love when she comes over. Ammon especially is delighted to have someone to play with besides me. He is pretty sweet with her, it’s cute to watch. Addie worked that night and Rich had Stake meetings, so I went and got chicken for dinner from Addie’s restaurant and helped the kids with homework and was heading to bed just as Addie and Daddy were coming home. I stayed up late doing Addie’s hair while she did homework. I didn’t get to bed til late, but neither did she, and she was ready for seminary at 6am. She is so stalwart, it amazes me sometimes. I’m glad to lose a little sleep to be able to catch up with her. Hard to believe I’ve only got 2 and a half years left with her under our roof!

Friday we watched Laney again. We had an adventure and went grocery shopping with two littles. It was crazy at the store because a tour bus full of retired people heading to Yellowstone had stopped for snacks. So there were like 100 old people and me and the babies in line at Albertsons. Pretty fun. NIles had soccer practice and then we had a yummy family dinner--everyone was home and eating together for the first time in a long time! Addie and I had made biscuits and gravy from scratch, and we sliced a yummy ripe honeydew melon. I even made a batch of gluten free biscuits and they turned out great. I was shocked!

Saturday was a marathon of soccer games. Rich ran to the Preparedness Fair in Bozeman in the morning, then met us at the soccer field for James’ 11am and 12:30 games, and Niles’ 2pm game. This was our first soccer day of the season and I was grossly under prepared. I had to take Addie to work at 11:40ish, so I missed the end of James’ first game. I grabbed some lunch and refilled the water bottles because it was scorching hot outside. I fed all our people during James’ 2nd game. Rich brought umbrellas to keep the sun off of us, but I still should have brought sunscreen because the little boys all got sunburned. A storm blew in just as NIles’ game began. The wind whipped up furiously and it rained sporadically for about an hour. About 20 minutes into the game, there was a  big lightning strike and everyone ran for cover (the soccer park is on a high, treeless plateau). We headed for the car and noticed a plume of smoke rising from a hill about 3 miles northwest of our neighborhood. Within the next half hour, we counted about 20 emergency vehicles heading out to the fire, and later, several helicopters. Heidi and I had planned to go shopping in Bozeman at 3pm, so we got a good view of the fire from I-90. It was contained within a few hours and burned 200 acres between Fleshman Creek and Orea Creek. We felt so blessed that so many were able to come to our aid and keep our community safe, but we are still so sad for those in harm’s way this week--whether it be the NW fires, the Mexican earthquake, or the fierce hurricanes in the SE. Perilous times, yo. Saturday Night we met the Johnsons and the Parks at the Sport Bar and Grill for dinner. It was SOOOO nice. Two hours of fun conversation and delicious food. I don’t know why we don’t do it more often, but it sure was great to visit with them.

Church was nice today. We got to hear from Jenny Larson, who is preparing to serve a mission, and Rebecca and Dan Smith, who recently moved into the ward. They rent a house right behind us and their 2 boys are the same ages as James and Niles and they have fun together. Their talks were awesome; all the speakers testified of keeping commandments, especially tithing and Sabbath. These commandments really do keep us unspotted from the world if we live them and let them change our hearts from Telestial to Celestial living. I’ve been doing kind of an online book club with friends on social media, studying the conference talks from April and I am feeling so keenly each day how Heavenly Father has prepared me in some way the past few months to hear these talks again and apply them more readily. The over-arching theme or feeling I get is how personal purity and strong faith are the most important things to have in our preparedness kits. Our temporal needs can be met by others but our spiritual needs are between us and the Lord. No one else can fill our lamps for us when the bridegroom arrives, no matter how much they may want to share with us so we can be included. We must do it ourselves, before He comes, and the prophets are practically begging us to be clean and ready by keeping these commandments. It’s a beautiful thing! I am so excited for the next conference, it feels like Christmas!

So, all is well here. Heidi had a good week and fun times with ward friends this weekend. Thank you for your prayers for her, for us. We are being buoyed up and guided and it is a good feeling. We hope and pray all is well with you. We pray for you daily, often by name. Have a good week and remember we love you!

Love,

Jamie, Rich, and Family

Sunday, September 03, 2017

FAMILY LETTER 09.03.17

Dear Loved Ones,

Wow, we have had a roller coaster week! It has been one of hard choices, disappointments, laughs, joys, exhaustion, and adjustment to school standard time.  I think the hot dry wind and the thick layer of wildfire smoke have really added to the desolate mood of the week.

Monday we had to part ways with the Sister Cities program. It was really hard after 10 months of work, and it was just one disappointment on top of another for our Heidi-girl. Anyone who takes time to get to know her knows she has the softest heart and best sense of humor L We pray she will find her tribe and thrive this year and realize how cool she is-- without a crusty shell ;)  After James’ soccer practice, we went to Mark’s In and Out for family night (“to eat our feelings”, LOL!) (There is nothing on the menu I can eat, so I had a very yummy Cherry Coke and some pickles) and then we went home and had a short lesson and dessert with Grandpa and Grandma Melin. They brought flowers and hugs and made us all feel better. Poor Addie was working through all of that, and was a little teary when I picked her up. She had to make some tough choices about how best to use her time this week (less work, drop a class, get more sleep). But both girls pulled through it and made good choices and five days later, all is well. Addie bore her testimony today of how prayer and Heavenly Father and the Comforter helped her make it through this week. Trials can bring out the best in us.

Tuesday was Niles’ first soccer practice, and as usual he was greeted by a gaggle of adoring lady friends who are on his team. He wanted me to drop him off (not stay and watch—he is a big boy now), but right after I left, he got a gnarly bloody nose—the first of many for our family this week. The smoke from the fires is wreaking havoc on our noses, throats, and lungs, but we know it is much worse NW of us. Niles is such a little joy bubble. He is just so good at everything and so determined and passionate and funny. He rocked at TBall and he looks pretty good on the soccer field (like I know anything—hahaha! We are so non- athletic and non-competitive, Niles is blazing new trails for our family!). He is also passionate about music. He tries everything—the piano, the ukulele, the drums, bells, triangle, tambourine, guitar. We may have to start him on some lessons when soccer is over.

On Wednesday, Ammon and I enjoyed a park playdate/picnic with our Johnson friends. It felt just like summer (we got sunburned!) and the boys had a ball while I caught up with Naomi—good for the soul! It was also James’ soccer practice back to back with Scouts and Youth activities. James was the only 11 year old there, so he and his leader joined the combined youth activity, playing Cops and Robbers through our whole town. It sounded like quite the adventure, and exactly the fun release my kids needed after the stress of starting school.

Thursday I worked super hard in the kitchen—I was on my feet for 10 hours straight! I made some dilly beans, grated and froze a bunch of zucchini, blanched and froze chard and spinach, and cooked a yummy Italian dinner from scratch (green salad and gnocchi soup) because our cute friends Emily Schwendiman and Lauren Ney came up from BYU for a visit. They were missionaries here a while back and it was so fun to catch up with them! They took pictures, but I forgot to—I will have to get one from them.

Friday was a nice peaceful laundry day at home, but Rich was neck-deep at the office still catching up from his Utah trip. Addie had to work and Heidi went up to Clyde Park to stay with a friend, so it was just me and the fellas again. The boys watched a movie and I crashed super early (8:30), which allowed me to wake up ridiculously early on Saturday morning (4:30). I was able to study conference, Book of Mormon, 1 Peter, and attend a 7am Bible Study at the coffeehouse with my sweet Jesus loving friends. I was able to take a nice lavender soak at 5am and watch the red sun rise in the smoke and think about Grampy who died 7 years ago Saturday. The scriptures we read in Bible study were a message to me, so much that I got teary (1Peter 2:20-25—which remind me a lot of the Liberty Jail messages in D&C). I went home and did some chores with the fam and then took Ammon to a sweet baptism for Payden Prosser and his cousin. The whole Barnes family was there and it was really sweet. The grandpa, Erin Barnes, played “When I Am Baptized” on his guitar and his grandchildren gathered around him and sang. It wrecked me big time! Grandpas are so special! Addie worked all day (12-9) and when I picked her up she was so excited to have given her Labor Day hours to a co-worker. I’m so glad that worked out, poor girl has had pretty much no friend time since camp, so I hope she and her friends do something fun tomorrow. Heidi also made plans with a nice new friend, so things are already looking brighter this week than last.

Fast Meeting was lovely today—definitely a theme of “God is aware of us and loves us.” Grandpa and Grandma sat with us, and they came over this evening to celebrate James’ Birthday. He chose a tortellini dinner, so we had that with 2 sauce choices and 2 salads (veg and fruit), and a Mud Pie ice cream cake. We talked on the phone with Uncle Mark in Colorado for a minute, then we hurried off to another missionary fireside. This is the last one for a while, from Keaton Segil, who served in the Johannesburg South Africa Mission. Such a nice way to spend a Sunday evening with our ward family. Africa is a special place!

So all is well here. Nothing exciting, just “anxiously engaged” in some good causes, staying busy doing good things, but not too busy. We appreciate everyone who prayed with/for our family this week. I know things are going to be okay and go according to our Heavenly Father’s will. We are so grateful to be parents to this band of funny, unique, hilarious, creative characters. Life is good. I wanted to close with this quote from our Relief Society lesson from Spencer W. Kimball (“Tragedy or Destiny?”).
“No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God … and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven. …” (Orson F. Whitney).
 I noticed this week more than ever how much more focused and energetic I am when I am challenged. I’m sure Heavenly Father would like to let me rest, but He knows how quickly I lose focus when I am not toe to toe with the adversary. Okay then. Bring it.

All our love and prayers for a happy week—


Love, Rich and Jamie and Family

Cutest Nerd Ever-- Heidi on 8/28

Niles

Smoky Sunset

Smoky Sunrise on Saturday

James opening gifts Sunday night 9/3



Heidi and Addie at James' fiesta 9/3



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...