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Hello there, dear readers. No new recipe today, rather a post of another kind for you all. Many of you are aware that my oldest son Mark left last February to serve an LDS mission in Nashville, Tennessee. This is a picture of my family dropping him off at the Provo MTC. That was a day for big dark sunglasses, I can tell you that. I don’t think I’ve ever been more proud and more sad all in the same 24 hours. (Which equated to large amounts of emotion and severe tear spillage from my red rimmed eye balls).


We’d spent the weeks prior to his leaving buying suits and ties, making fun memories as a family…


…and attending the temple. They were some of the sweetest weeks I’ve ever spent as a mother. The day Mark went through the temple for the first time was beautiful beyond words. Our parents and many siblings were there with us. It was one of the best days of my life, truly.

mom and girls

My girls and I, the day of Mark’s farewell address.

Group of Friends at the Farewell_edited-1

Before LDS missionaries are sent out into the field, they give a talk during Sacrament Meeting (a church service). The meeting-house was packed with our dear friends, ward members and family.

dear ones

It felt like heaven, having everyone we love so much all in the same room.

cute kid

We spent the afternoon feeding everyone and just enjoying the wonderful day that it was.

my sistersMy wonderful sisters and brothers in law

And it was wonderful, every minute.

Mark Picture for the blog

During Mark’s farewell talk, he was very candid about the difficulties he has had in his life. From a very young age he has struggled with anxiety. His anxiety is super specific. It doesn’t come on due to worry about not doing well, or being enough, or doing enough. It creeps in and grabs a hold of him, only when he is away from home and family. Separation Anxiety, it is. We spent many long mornings when he was in elementary school coaxing him into the car to go to school, encouraging him and telling him that all would be well, praying with him and for him, helping him to work through the anxiety. Through his teenage years, scout camps and youth conferences were hard. Very hard. But it was something that he worked through. He was able to attend enough scout camps to qualify to receive his Eagle Scout (hooray!) and by his senior year in high school he had it pretty much managed and was able to attend camp that summer with no problem at all. He had no issues going to junior high or high school and enjoyed his teenage years quite a lot.

All young men in our church are asked to serve 2 year missions and can start applying to serve when they are 18 years old. Mark has always been very obedient and willing to do what is asked of him. Serving a mission was a sobering prospect for him, considering his level of anxiety at being away from home.  We knew it would be hard. Being away from home for a weekend is one thing. Serving a 2 year mission, with very little contact with family and friends is an entirely different animal. When Mark originally submitted his mission papers The Church (knowing of his situation) asked him to move away from home for 3 months, gain some experience at living away and submit his papers again. The Lord blessed us a lot during this time. Mark moved about an hour away from home and went to a semester of school at Weber State. He did very well, and though it was difficult for him to be away from home he gained some much-needed experience.

Mark met some wonderful people on his mission. His testimony of the gospel and of God’s love increased tremendously. But the anxiety was severe. Crushingly so. It was a pain that he carried with him constantly while he served. He had anxiety attacks and was further burdened with depression. After he had served for 2 months we got a phone call from his mission president informing us that Mark would be coming home, with an honorable release due to his medical condition. Anxiety and Depression.

On the day he came home, my husband, children and I all sat together and listened to Mark tell us as many details of his mission as he could recall. He was much changed, even though he’d only been gone for a couple of months.

That afternoon we sat together and watched the following video clip that had been released just days before. It brought us a lot of comfort!

My husband, Mark and I discussed how best to approach his early release. We were worried about how he would be received in our community and wanted to make the transition as easy as possible. Following the advice of a friend who experienced a similar situation, we let people know through our social media accounts that he was home. At the very least, we figured this would ease the blow and make it less awkward as he ran into people around town.


I posted the above message to my personal Facebook page and Instagram account. Mark wanted to mention the reason for his release. He was brave, very brave in being willing to admit the reason and I was, and still am, so proud of him. “I don’t have anything to hide, Mom. We might as well call it what it is.” were his exact words. He’s a good kid. But I have to admit, I sat on my bed, staring at my phone for about 45 minutes before I actually pushed the submit button on that message. I crossed my fingers that he would be treated well by it.

I had not anticipated the beautiful way people would love us on that day and have loved us since. We received loving messages of support and encouragement from friends, family, congregation members, community members, acquaintances, blog followers, and even strangers. Many people reached out to us who have experienced similar things extending love, support and advice. We were wrapped up in love. People have been so good to us. It has made all the difference in the world.

The Lord has blessed us in many, many ways through his mission and early release. Though he was only in Tennessee a short time, Mark was able to assist in teaching the gospel to many people. One, in particular who was baptized and confirmed the day before he left to come home.

Mark’s been blessed with a strong, sure testimony of the gospel. I was worried that his early release would diminish his love for Heavenly Father and commitment to the gospel, but it has had the opposite effect on him. The Lord strengthened him tremendously while serving and since he has been home, and for that I am so grateful.  He’s been home for 5 months now.  He spent the first 2 weeks at home with me, easing into things and wrapping his mind around the future. He is doing very well, has been working hard throughout the summer months  installing ceiling sprinklers (hard work is such a blessing!) and will be moving away from home this Saturday to live on campus at, and attend Weber State University. Crossing our fingers that all goes well for him there!

for blog
Three of my kids laying sod this past summer at Bear Lake. 🙂

I suspect anxiety is something Mark will deal with from time to time throughout his life. That he was willing to answer the Lord’s call to serve a mission, knowing the particular sacrifice, struggle and challenge it would be for him, is something I always be grateful for.

My sister Alli sent me a text a few days after Mark arrived home that read…

“He hath made all things beautiful in His time…” Ecclesiastes 3:11

I have found it to be ever so true.

About Jamie

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  1. My youngest “bonus” son came home after serving for 3 months. We were also afraid of how he would be treated. If there was any judgment, he didn’t feel it. He’s a wonderful young man. He will be marrying his best friend in the new Provo Tabernacle temple next month. I am so thankful for tender mercies. Jamie, you are such an inspiration to so many!

  2. What a beautiful human being you and your husband have raised. He is a very strong young man to recognize his weaknesses and do his best to deal with them. Thank God he spoke the truth and didn’t try to hide it and make things worse for himself. He was away for two months and I’m sure every day was a struggle, but, he did really good. He will be a very good family man, I’m sure. God Bless

  3. This post hit close to home with me! My son left on June 1st to the Tampa Florida mission and he came home from anxiety and depression on August 19th of this year. It was a very emotional time for me! I got teary reading your post! I still get teary thinking about it and sort of mourning what could have been if he maybe didn’t get such a strict mission or if he didn’t start off with such strict controlling companions but I keep reminding myself that everything happens for a reason and maybe one day I will understand. My girls and I wrote a similar Facebook post and just like you the outpouring of love and support was amazing! Just like your son, my son grew so much in the few months he was gone and he is doing so good and is happy with his decision to come home. He had the desire to serve and he gave it his all, might, mind and strength for as long as he could and I couldn’t be prouder of him for that! Our sons served honorable, successful missions and I know the Lord is pleased that they were willing and gave what they were able, just as I am and I am sure you are too! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Sharon,
      So happy to hear your son is doing well! 🙂 I have to admit that I still get teary about it on occasion as well. It takes a bit of time to wrap your mind around, doesn’t it. Thanks so much for your comment.
      Best to you and your family!

  4. LDS Missions seem cruel and inappropriate to me. Having said that, the real mission in this young man’s journey has been the manner in which his community welcomed him home. While I am critical of the structure of the LDS church, I am in awe of the way its non-hierarchical members treat each other.

  5. I know this was some time ago now, but I’ve been looking through your recipes (so many of them remind me of my grandmother’s recipes, which I’m sure you know is always a high compliment) and ran across this post. The story of your son’s struggle and courage got me right in the heart, and the comments (most of them anyway) pushed me over into being a bit teary (ok more than a bit). I hope things have been continuing to get steadier for him, and I’m not particularly religious but this has me wanting to pray. I wish you all the best <3 have a beautiful summer, and when the fall term comes around, I'll be quietly cheering for him out here.