It has been said that straying even one or two tiny degrees from a desired flight plan can transport airplane passengers to a vastly different destination from the one to which they may have hoped to arrive (see this talk…I love it).

I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately as I’ve been bracing myself for some wing-dinger months and events coming up. I’m stressing out a little bit.

In trying to be proactive so I don’t go into door-slamming break-down mode, I’ve realized I’m a few degrees off in how I spend my time.

My desired “destination” is first and foremost to be “present” with my family and with my God. And since life doesn’t just neatly fit in a little package to make that easy (dang it!), I have realized I have to fight for balance more and more as kids grow older and life fills in with more and more commitments.

As I’ve tried to simplify and cut things out I’ve realized this blog sometimes takes up big chunks of my time that are not proportionate to my goals and desired “destination.”

And because I do not have any desire to quit recording life and giving my swirling thoughts a place to rest here in writing, I decided I’m going to give a new thing a try:

The fifteen-minute blog post experiment.

I am going to set a time limit each morning this week to see if I can finish each post in 15 minutes or less.

And so, dear children, and children’s children, and their children after that who may have interest in what life was like right here and now, please forgive me if this week my grammar is sub par, or if I say something that may unintentionally hurt feelings or not be entirely politically correct. I am putting first things first and trying to find a balance that will benefit us for years to come as I work to keep a record of “us” on the side. I hope we will always remember the beauty of life right now at the same time as we strive to live it fully, and “present”ly.

Ooops, that fifteen minutes is up. That sure goes quick!

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  1. Thank goodness! I thought you were about to write that you were taking a break from your blog. Some ways can you cut down on blog time is by setting up mobile blogger and sending the post to your blog while it's still fresh in your mind. I'm sure I speak for everyone when I say we'll all be forgiving of typos, just don't quit on us!

  2. i was holding my breath there, i thought you were going to say you were taking break, i was ready to go into a door slamming, crying in the bathroom meltdown haha. I agree, i need to stop spending so much time on the computer. you can sit for '5' minutes, and 20 minutes later…. great post!

  3. Good idea! I'm 14 years old and I've been following your blog for a while now. I really love your family! I wish that I had more brothers and sisters like Max and Elle. I only have an older brother and he doesn't like to be around me very much. I just have a quick question for you. What state do you live in? It's really beautiful and it seems like a great place! I'd love to be a "pen pal" with Elle if you think she'd be interested in that. You could check out my blog too at! 🙂

  4. I have been thinking a lot about time as well. Although I've got some things down pretty well, I'm still trying to adjust to this new adventure called Motherhood- still trying to figure out my priorities! Blogging does take quite a bit of time, but for me I think blog-stalking is my problem haha 😀 Hope this goes well for you. And I agree with everyone else, I'm glad to hear you're not taking a (complete) break from blogging!
    Have a great week!

  5. I'm with you, sista. I have struggled with how much time to devote to blogging… which I do primarily to keep my extended family, who all live far away, updated on what we're doing. Plus I have kids in college, and even kids at home who regularly check in on my blog. For those reasons, I can't give it up. I do, however, regularly evaluate my time priorities… I tried a 4-minute post once 🙂 I have learned to keep it brief, and not to feel like I need to post every day, but it's hard for me not to edit and re-read several times (that politically correct thing – even if it's just in "family politics" – they matter most anyway). I enjoy occasionally checking in on your blog, but you totally have my support!

  6. I absolutely love this idea. I think I may try it too. I am the opposite in the fact that it takes so much time and I am a slow writer(lol)that I don't blog more often.

    Looking forward to meeting you and your cute mom in Richmond this weekend. Good times!

  7. Such a great post.

    I have always said if the blog post takes longer than 10 minutes then it's too much time.

    Look around and ask for tips on how to post faster (shrinking pictures faster, uploading faster, HTML short cuts etc.) and you'll TOTALLY be able to do it under 15 minutes.

  8. I often wonder how people have time to do all that they do, but it's just priorities! I love to scrapbook and if I find I don't have the time for it, it's usually because something else like (t.v. or reading a book) is in first place….good luck to you! it's hard to do! I still have photos from summer that I haven't blogged!!! I don't feel guilty though, my blog is more for me than my girls, I keep detailed journals for them, plus scrapbooks!
    I LOVE your blog though, so I hope you keep posting!!!!!!!
    Your kids are so fun to watch grow up! they are truly amazing people!

  9. perhaps i'll try this to START blogging again! i've really let it go because there are so many other important things that i feel like need my attention right now, but i know that keeping a good record for my family is important too. thanks for the idea and perhaps we can come from opposite ends and find a happy medium!

  10. family is definitely the most important thing and this blog should not be top priority…but i'm glad you will still be blogging, even if it may be short and sweet. i look forward to reading your blog every week and as a mommy of two little kids i look up to you and your great example. thanks for sharing all of your ideas with us 🙂

  11. Totally reminded me of Pres. Uchdorf's talk a while ago on deviating from the path. I don't know how your day goes, but I must say from a blogging perspective I look up to you! Thanks for sharing and keeping it real!
    P.S. Don't stop blogging;)
    P.P.S. I loved you and your mom in Logan, Ut for Time Out! Thanks for sacrificing your time with family to be there!

  12. this makes me so happy to hear. i love seeing people deciding to cut back and spend their time doing their real priorities. I am constantly working at that and re-working at that. I enjoy reading your thoughts and seeing that you've tried to create such a great environment for your kids.
    thanks for sharing and for being so honest about it too =)

  13. Oh I love this idea Shawni… and, on a personal note, I'm so relieved you're not quitting or taking a longer break from us.

    Tell me though. Is that 15 just writing, or is that compressing and uploading pics too?

  14. Love your “Zen” comment about being present…and the earlier post about it. The moments when we can quiet the incessant addiction to thinking is key to being present. The best way is to “Observe from within” or in other words…be a “Watcher” of your own being. Any time your emotions boil to the surface in any way…this is ego…the physical brain and body. Instead…when something starts those emotions…become still…and “watch” yourself feeling/experiencing those emotions. Ever notice how we let emotions build up over time? (Especially in our bodies) Then…that final straw hits…and we unleash the flood gate of emotion that was pent up. Observe and come to a conclusion as you watch this process within: “Hmm…I’m experiencing some wild worry thoughts right now…or anger…or frustration…because of this or that.” Observation creates stillness around those emotions (which will dissipate simply because you are noticing them instead of being them)…and your spirit-conscious-being brightens…while the human body has no choice but to quietly follow. Most of us live our lives the other way around…the human ego runs the show…and we ARE our emotions and boy do we let everyone else know what those emotions are!

    What is interesting is most really don’t know how or what being “present” is. Think of an example in your life…when your child got hurt…or your pet…or you see a beautiful view that stops you…the birth of your children…or a moment when the full force of a beautiful piece of music hits you…in each of those moments…where was your thinking mind? It was quiet. It was completely still and present. (Of course when the moment passed…what happened…your mind starts up again and our addiction to thinking returns!) It truly is possible…to be that still all day long. The question is…who is running "the show" within you…the thinking mind…or your conscious spirit/soul within?

    Give this a try: As you go throughout the day: Watch…and Observe the emotions happening within you…then…Accept…Accept…Accept…that this is your human brain…and body…creating these illusions of worry…anger…despair…confusion. The more you Observe this process going on within…the more you will discover your conscious-spirit/soul…will keep you present at all times. In this way…your thoughts and physical body…becomes the tools of your Spirit/Soul to “Be” in this world. Whom better an example of this than Christ himself in these two words? “Be Still”

    More simply:

    Judgement which triggers Emotions = The Ego (Your physical brain…creating an illusion through chemical reactions pretending to be important…which we usually act upon)

    Observation to Conclusion to Acceptance (No emotions are triggered…and if they are…you Observe them to Acceptance) = Your Spirit/Soul in charge (Stillness and Total Acceptance of Self and Others…unlimited light and daily peaceful joy)

  15. wisest advise you could model — temper the computer time and be present with your family! thx! probably one of the most important bits of advise you've shared yet!

    we're all drifting into psuedo presence in our homes – electronically DISconnected with each other while cyber-connecting with (fill in the blank) – giving us the false feeling of being connected, but being oh so not where it matters most!

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