to honor and be inspired

Last weekend my husband and I had the opportunity to attend the funeral of my dear Grandfather. We never expected to receive all that we did. Funerals typically have a reputation of being very sad and mournful, with black outfits and flowing tears. Yes, this was all there in part, but it was significantly overshadowed by feelings of awe towards our incredible grandfather. And I know when I say this I speak for not only me but the rest of our truly special family. His life was one of great acheivements, all accomplished through his dedication and unwavering faith to the Lord. He just "got it." He understood what brought happiness in life. He was not tempted by the things of the world because he realized they meant nothing, yet he acheived more in his 84 years than most. He truly was the "superior man" as my sweet father described in his talk...

“The superior man is spiritual. He exemplifies simplicity. He abhors being conspicuous. He is dedicated to service. Superior people are never bitter. Pessimism is the philosophy of vulgarity. The superior person is clean. His fellowship is refreshing. He is above his pleasures…A superior man is gentle, Superior men are humble-minded, or teachable, and they learn from passersby. The superior man is one with whom familiarity does not breed contempt. The superior man lasts; he wears well.” (President Harold B. Lee about Dwight B. Einsenhower)

That truly describes my dear grandfather. His 7 children, 47 grandchildren, and 101 great-grandchildren have all been deeply touched by being a part of his life and we all felt so loved by him. I know I feel honored to have been one of those 47 grandchildren. I can truly say now I understand those scriptures that say the hearts of the children were turned to their fathers. I feel a strong desire deep within me to live a faithful life to honor the name I have been given. I want to live an honest and unwavering life to honor my grandfather and be a woman that he would be proud of. He truly led by example, never boasting, just constantly serving, whether in the temple or in the kitchen.

"Our father was the greatest man I have ever known. To us, his children, he was the very personification of a patriarch. He was our ‘Abraham’ who at a young age, in spite of having a father who was antagonistic to the church, sought for the blessings of the fathers. He desired to be a “greater follower of righteousness, to be a father of many children, a prince of peace, desiring to receive instructions and to keep the commandments of God.” Having been raised by a widow in the heart of the depression, he did not have the benefit of a righteous patriarch to train him and whose example he could follow. Consequently, he was acutely aware and desired that his children have a righteous example to whom they could look. I remember, from my earliest youth, kneeling down every morning for family prayer. When my father would pray, it was unlike other prayers I have ever heard. When he would talk to his Heavenly Father, the veil was thin and you felt as though the very heavens were making note of his requests. I once asked him, “How did you learn to pray like that?” He said that as a young boy, because he did not have a father, he learned to turn to his Heavenly Father for guidance and counsel."

My Uncle Whitney spoke at the funeral and gave the life sketch and it was soo incredible. The stories he told were priceless and wonderful! My grandfather was not only faithful, but full of life and so much love. I have a copy of his autobiography and I am so excited to read it and learn more about the inspiring life of my grandfather.

What a blessing it was to be with family. We truly are a special family. We are so close-knit and there is so much love between us. What an amazing posterity my grandfather has begun. We can only spend our lives trying to make him proud and stay close as he would want us to.

As the days after the funeral have continued to pass, I continue to feel such a sense of gratitude and humility for my blessings. To be a part of the family I am so blessed to be in, to have sat at the feet of such a faithful patriarch and learned from him, to be sealed be sealed to my sweet mother, father, and brother in the temple as the first sealing he performed, and to have him seal me to my eternal companion and best friend.

He has gone ahead to prepare the next great James family reunion with his dear wife, Grandma Norma James. I know he is with me now and my life truly is forever changed by his influence.

As my sweet father said, "God Speed and fair well Great Patriarch, we look forward to sitting at your feet again someday."

little Sydney, our love

the James gang :)

i just loved this picture for some reason, Sparky is the greatest :)


lovin the love :)

i had the most lovely time with my mother and dear grandma. from our costco/gelato trips to our girls day out with grandma... my love for my grandmother grew 100 fold times this trip! she is such a sweet lady. and i love you mom!


  1. So good to see the Danny's. We will miss grandpa so much but we'll get together often to reminisce.

  2. Oh my gosh Rachael. I am so proud of you for writing these thoughts and feelings. Your life will benefit from taking the time to do this. I look to you as such an example right now as I think of my own family trials. I love you always.

  3. love the quotes you put in. so perfect for grandpa, really. i love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!! see you soon (hopefully) <3 <3

  4. Thank you so my Rachael for your perfect expression of how we all feel. I am so grateful for you and Ashley and the other family members for recording this tender time for everyone in the Garth A James Family. I love the pictures you chose honey and I will treasure our Grandma Girls day too. She is so precious and our last promise to Grandpa was that we would take care of her so we will look forward to more of those tender times. There's nothing more treasured than the time we spend together as a family. I love you so much.