When my sister-in-law from Utah is in town it turns into a party here.  I talked a little bit about her visit back HERE, but I left out our hike.

And I kind of have to put it in here because not only was it great conversation (I love each of those women so much, and have learned so much from their wisdom over the years), but it was also one of those days that I appreciated living in the desert more than ever.  
It took me a few years to fully soak in the beauty of this place.  After so many years in Utah and Virginia when we first moved here I was a little bitter missing the seasons and the gorgeous trees that stretched out as far as your eye could see (in Virginia).  Even the freeways were lined in greenery so much that I couldn’t figure out my directions at first.  It was like I was in a maze of trees.  But I loved it so much.  And part of me will always miss that.
But man oh man how I have grown to love the beauty of the desert.

So grateful for what an artist God is.
And that I got to appreciate that art and the fact that I live right next to most of these amazing women that day emerged in all that beauty.
p.s. it’s been a really nutty weekend and we still haven’t even gone over all the wonderful internship ideas that have come in for Elle…please know how much I appreciate all you have sent whether in comments or emails, and I will try to get back to you soon!

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  1. I totally understand your love of the desert now!! We spent our spring break at a rental house in Goodyear, AZ last week, I grew up in Washington State and have now lived in Utah for 12 years. When we planned our trip I was not that excited about "going to the desert" but now I've told my husband to find us a job there, I fell totally in love with it!! (But maybe not until September, my fair red headed self would probably need a bit of time to adjust to the constant sun!!)

  2. Please keep us updated on the Valley Fever diagnosis. I live in Arkansas and a client of mine had to travel back and forth to Southern CA to help her older mother who got Valley Fever and it sounded rough. (she was already very sick and weak and elderly and then contracted it) but I'm just believing for complete healing for you and protection from the fever for your whole family! Let no weapon formed against you prosper!

  3. You capture the beauty of everything so well! Whether it's the desert or prom or your darling kids, you capture it so beautifully. You have inspired me and I try to soak it in and point it out to my kids when I can. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Sad I missed beautiful Elle's prom pics! I'm sure she looked gorgeous. I don't think it's that unusual to get all dolled up for prom…I'm 26 and we did all of that when I was in high school. Thanks for being such a great example through your blog. I'm a young Mom and it's nice to hear a "seasoned" Moms perspective and to catch a glimpse of what it will be like one day when my children can all walk, talk, bathe, and feed themselves. Ha!

  5. Just like the above comment, I am saddened that you had to remove something from your blog because people are making not nice comments. I was excited to see Elle's prom pics as well, but I understand. No one that reads this blog can deny your standards and love for God. I have no doubt that the dress WAS modest but that people just take their unkind comments too far. I have no doubt that a) you and your husband wouldn't let her wear something immodest and b) from what it seems like, Elle wouldn't choose something immodest. Did these people want to show up with a measuring stick or something? I mean really, people! Whatever happened to the "if you can't say something nice then don't say it at all" lesson we were all taught? For some reason the ability to hide behind our computer screens has turned everyone into mean, critical , outspoken individuals. It's sad really. But thank you for sharing the other prom pictures. All the girls look lovely and it sounds like they had the greatest time. Ah.. prom…. those are some fun memories!!

  6. I'm going to third the comment that I'm so sad I wasn't able to see the pictures of Elle at prom. I'm sure she looked beautiful. I read your blog because I'm a mom to a three year old girl with hopefully many more children in my future. I am always so impressed with the way you raise your family so intentionally. I'm sure whatever Elle was wearing was perfectly modest and acceptable and I'm only sorry people felt the need to judge.

  7. Oh geez, I hate to validate any of the "controversy" surrounding Elle's or any girls' prom dresses. But man alive people. I feel like we are like the Pharisees casting the stones. I'd MUCH rather focus on raising my four daughters to be kind, respect themselves and others, work hard, and (like you said Shawni) let their beautiful lights shine, than nit-pick about hemlines and sleeve lines. I'm pretty sure God isn't making little tally marks every time a girl or woman wears something a little tight or a little shirt. Ugh. Sorry to get on a soapbox, but I've heard comments at church and other places about this, and there is NO PLACE for that as we are all striving to have the pure love of Christ. In the big scheme of things, it just doesn't matter. (You're an amazing mom, Shawni.)

  8. Elle did look beautiful and the dress was super modest. But her shoulders were showing – none of the comments were judgemental or unkind. They just wanted to know why Shawni (or any other LDS parent of a young woman) would allow that since the rules specifically say to cover shoulders. Still don't have an answer.

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