Sunday, October 14, 2018


Dear Loved Ones,                     

This week has been a lot of work. Kids have been home sick with colds, Heidi was home on grieving leave, we had two snowy days, and I did a bunch of food prep. I taught myself how to use my Instapot and made 4lbs each of shredded pork and shredded chicken and made them into enchiladas and tamales to freeze and share. The Instapot is pretty awesome for tamales-only 20 minutes
to steam them! Little Jonesies came over Friday 10/12 and we made enchiladas for them to take home—dinner while their mama is out of town. They all played so nicely together, I love that they feel like cousins.

I have come to expect opposition in times directly before and after a spiritual feast, but this week has been tougher than usual and I haven’t been able to “serve my way out” of my post-trip funk. Saturday 10/13 was particularly brutal. I just wasn’t prepared for the depth of sorrow I felt attending little Tony’s memorial service with James and Heidi. Heidi sat with her friends who are well acquainted with grief and they cried together. James and I sat together with an empty aisle seat next to us, which was soon filled by the crossing guard from SGMS/Eastside school. Both James and the crossing guard sobbed through the service. Having my sweet boy bury his face in my shoulder and cry just wrecked me. As I listened to the pastor grappling with tragedy through his heart-felt message, I felt a little wave of anger for what the Adversary is doing to our babies here. I wished so much for a Melchizedek priesthood holder to feel what I feel and to stand up in compassion and faith and power and rebuke this devourer and protect our children, but I don’t think we even had a priesthood holder there. I want this darkness cast out from us. It’s the same old battle I’ve fought for the past several years and seeing the Adversary come after my kids makes me want to kick him in the teeth. It was just so sad, so wrong to see the little punks from the skate park just weeping. So much grief at such a young age, three autumns in a row now. I know we will be okay, I know the pain will subside. I’m just sad for my kids right now...sad for all who ache today. 

On the bright side, Addie attended XC divisionals in Havre—a 5 hour drive—and did her personal best IN THE SNOW there on Saturday afternoon. She got home late Saturday, tired but triumphant. I am really proud of her ability to do hard things. Today 10/14 was definitely balm for my aching heart. And balm is the perfect word- feeling the Spirit, regardless of what is happening or being said, is like soft, smooth ointment on a stinging cut. Every kind of pain is buffered and I feel not alone and not empty. Succored. Testimony meeting was lovely, and my Primary class was so sweet talking about wise and foolish choices. This afternoon, my kids helped me make banana bread and we took some over to the Tyners. Wendy’s liver cancer has progressed and she is now on hospice care. The family is keeping vigil and that sacred Spirit that only comes when someone joins our families or leaves them is thick in the house. It was beautiful to feel it again; it is always so bittersweet—but mostly sweet— to see someone at peace and truly prepared to meet their maker. Our hearts truly go out to her whole dear family during this holy time.

Life has never felt more BRUTIFUL (brutal and beautiful). I’ve learned that God is closest to us in these extremities and that these are the times when we are REALLY LIVING—feeling our feelings and walking right through them to the peace on the other side. I think of Elder Wirthlin’s testimony, that “no matter how dark your Friday, Sunday will come.” Sunday came for me today, in every way.

We love and miss you all. Have a BRUTIFUL week (heavy on the BEAUTIFUL)!!!
Love, Jamie and Rich and Family

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