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building love and meaning into the walls

by Shawni
I can’t seem to figure out how to get house stuff in a different tab unless I start a new blog and shift to WordPress and all that jazz.  
Any amazing tech savvy people out there know how to help me with that?

Once upon a time in a hot, hot, hot desert far, far away a family had the opportunity to build themselves a home.

The mother of that family wanted to find a way to make that home special.  To make it theirs.  To invite the spirit into it and to have her children help.

So one day, while she was trying to measure where to put lights and trying to be at ease with the fact that sweat was dripping down her back, an idea popped into her mind.  Maybe inspired by something someone said.  Maybe inspired by the activity she and her family got to do back here.  However that little idea got there, it planted itself firmly into her heart and made those lights and sweat not feel quite so ominous.

She told her family the idea: they were to think carefully of their favorite scripture or spiritual thought and were going to get the chance to write it on the walls of their new home.

I know, super exciting right?

But really, whether those children’s eyes sparkled in glee or whether it was just a reflection of their mother’s eyes sparkling because she was so excited, they sparkled.

The trouble was that the summer was nutty.  There were far too many things going on and that mother couldn’t seem to gather that family of hers together for long enough to put her plan into action before the drywall was scheduled to be put in.  So one morning before they left on a trip she packed her middle three girls (the only ones available) into the car along with some fat permanent markers from Home Depot and they set to work.

The oldest daughter wrote their family motto on the wall of the family room.

The second daughter’s scripture took her a while.

Boy, that was long…

…and oh so good.

The mother wrote her very favorite as well.

(Isaiah 41:10, 13 is the best ever.)

A week or two later when that family could get their act together for Family Home Evening, they visited the house all together and found a few more blank spots on the walls where these who weren’t there the first time could add some thoughts.

The door to that mother’s office:


They even added some things from their “organize yourselves” scripture FHE (back here).

Of course, Rainbow Dash had to join in as well.

That mother watched, and as her family wrote things from their hearts to become the core of their home, her heart swelled and her eyes welled.

She hoped they would all think of those things they wrote every so often when their future selves were walking those halls and living in those rooms.

And she hoped that they would remember that words are powerful.  They can be just as much of a foundation for a home as beams and concrete are.


Cindy September 16, 2013 - 2:47 pm

I LOVE this idea!!! We will be building in the next few years and I am totally going to use this idea!

Kel September 16, 2013 - 3:01 pm

LOVE this!!! Thanks for sharing!

Michelle September 16, 2013 - 3:23 pm

I have been wanting to build a house for a while. It is not in the cards for us just yet. As I sat here crying reading this post, I suddenly have the urge to rip off some Sheetrock for fhe tonight! I wonder what my husband would have to say about that?! ;). That was such a great idea!

Cheryl September 16, 2013 - 3:38 pm

Beautiful idea! Your favorite scripture is mine as well along with the hymn How Firm a Foundation.

charity September 16, 2013 - 3:45 pm

totally got misty. good idea, shawn! love and miss you guys.

stephanie September 16, 2013 - 3:55 pm

Thank you for this idea. We are adding a bedroom for our oldest son and I think he would like to do this on his new walls. When "our" temple was built near us 5 years ago, all of the primary children in the area wrote their fav. scripture on a rock and the rocks were added to the foundation.

dresselfamily.blogspot.com September 16, 2013 - 4:11 pm

oh I love this!!! what a great idea!
But you have to full is in, we all thought you bought a home, did you decided to build, or are you just remodeling the home you bought.. more details 🙂 eeeekk

EJ September 16, 2013 - 4:13 pm

Such a great idea!!

Love Being A Nonny September 16, 2013 - 4:20 pm

Your kids will never forget this!

Angie Erickson September 16, 2013 - 4:20 pm

Great idea! One I will for sure copy! Thanks for sharing! Can't wait to see pics of your new home!

Sabrina September 16, 2013 - 4:24 pm

That's a beautiful thought!

Jen Kesler September 16, 2013 - 4:26 pm

LOVE it!!!!

ChrisKatieKelly September 16, 2013 - 4:29 pm

I can't express how wonderful I think this idea is. You are truly a deliberate mother. Thank you so much for your example and sharing your family with us.

valerie September 16, 2013 - 4:39 pm

Shawni! This is brilliant! We jut started the building process and you can bet we will be doing this.
Thank you so much for sharing. I love it.

Anonymous September 16, 2013 - 4:55 pm

Please don't start a new tab for the home stuff. The ones who don't want to read it can skim past it. We like it all together.

Snort September 17, 2013 - 12:39 am


Tyra September 16, 2013 - 4:58 pm

What a great idea! Love it

Andrea September 16, 2013 - 5:05 pm

Great Idea. I love it. Way to put your stamp on your home.

Anon September 16, 2013 - 5:08 pm

I was pretty harsh about your last house post but I have to tell you that I think this is one of the greatest most inspiring ideas I have ever heard!

gaylene September 16, 2013 - 5:37 pm

Not the best idea to read this post while listening to "Godspeed" by the Dixie Chicks 🙂
What a beautiful idea!

Tanya September 16, 2013 - 5:48 pm

I seriously love this!! When my parents built their house my little sister wrote her name all over her unfinished bedroom floor, staking her claim, but this is a truly inspired idea! 🙂

Jenny September 16, 2013 - 7:21 pm

I love this idea so, so much! Also, I had to say that your favorite scripture is my favorite scripture too! Those same 2 verses!! That is amazing to me because most people think I'm out there when I say that my favorite scripture is in Isaiah!! 🙂 I just love it!

Corinne September 16, 2013 - 7:33 pm

Simply beautiful. What a powerful thing to participate in. I can't imagine how stressful it would be to have to make every decision while building a house with pressure to make everything just right. I think that you make the perfect choice on this one, though. Something that will sink deep into each of your hearts as you live in that wonderful home you are making.

Brent and Lauren September 16, 2013 - 9:03 pm

wow! what a fantastic idea!

Taryn Brown September 16, 2013 - 11:20 pm

Made me teary too. I loved the last lines, very true and beautiful.

Debbie September 17, 2013 - 2:50 am

Wonderful idea!

Katie September 17, 2013 - 3:06 am

so terrific, we just finished a new home, and this is one of those few moments that I"m thinking "man I wish I had thought of that!" but we are doing a little 'time capsule' like they do when a temple is dedicated and burying it under the cement of our patio…thanks for sharing!

Katie September 17, 2013 - 3:07 am

such a great idea! We have just finished building a home and our way of putting our hearts into the home was to make a time capsule and bury it on the property…not as neat as this idea (this is brilliant!) but I was trying to 'liken' the building of our earthly home like building a temple and they always do a time capsule at a temple dedication…

Josh September 17, 2013 - 3:59 am

Yeah, I'm tech savvy and can help you.

kybynight September 17, 2013 - 4:13 am

I am so excited to see pics of your house I can hardy stand it!!! I also love the idea! I have been reading your blog religiously now for over 18 months and I just love it so much!! I get so excited to read another post. And this is actually the first time I have ever commented. I hope someday that I can be as great of a mom/wife/friend and example that you are. Thanks for being who you are and sharing

Saren Loosli September 17, 2013 - 4:20 am

Such a great idea, Shas. We should have done that on our house in St George! But wait, our kids couldn't write then…

Fun to see so many favorite quotes and scriptures of mine included – what a legacy of memorizing powerful stuff our parents gave us. This made me all the more determined to make sure my kids take it up a notch on memorization this year.

love you!

Lauren vdH September 17, 2013 - 4:33 am

So cool! This reminds me of the conference talk by Elaine Dalton, where she talks about her husband who installed the carpet in the conference center, asked her what scripture to write underneath the piece of carpet at the pulpit. I love her talks! Thanks for the great idea!

Analia and Co. September 17, 2013 - 1:17 pm

You are an inspiration! Your family is truly blessed to have such a mom!

Beth September 18, 2013 - 12:29 am

Such a neat idea! I love it! And reading these comments have me inspired, too … I don't know if we'll ever build a house, but what if we wrote our scriptures on rocks that could be used in the landscaping or something? I think it could work!

Anita September 19, 2013 - 10:15 pm

They will always remember that. You are truly inspired. Please don't hesitate to write anything else about your new home. It's such a big part of your life. I absolutely love reading decorating blogs & I'm sure most people would find your home building process really interesting!

Lara September 27, 2013 - 2:57 am

We just so happen to have bare walls in our kitchen right now and with this post as inspiration we did this for our FHE this week. It was one of the most memorable and meaningful family home evenings we've had in a long time. Thanks for the fabulous idea!



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