I meant to post this way earlier today but do you know what? THERE IS A HINT OF CRISPNESS IN THE AIR IN THE DESERT. And that calls for immediate drop-everything-else-and-head-out-on-a-celebratory-hike. So I had to obey. I love the desert, especially this time of year.

But other big news (aside from that beautiful crispness), is that it was National Daughter Day this week. Who knew there was such a thing? Or is that just what Instagram makes up to make people post more pictures? Ha! Whatever it was, it sure made me reflect on how the stars aligned so that I have FIVE of those gems. These ones:

…as well as this bonus one:

(They were pretending they saw a lion back on Father’s Day but I adore that picture and those personalities. And I adore how Abby fits right in to our family.)

For some reason I always thought I’d have a slew of boys, but here I am with these gems and oh, I am SO grateful for them.

When is National Son’s Day? Because I won the lottery with that one too. But that’s a post for another day.

I just want to take a minute to talk about BLOG NAVIGATION because I’m still getting some people contacting me through email and instagram not being able to find particular recipes or ideas. People keep getting that “404” error message because of some broken links we’re still working on. I used to just google “71toes _______________” (fill in the blank with whatever I was searching for), but I think until the internet catches up with all this change that won’t work so well.

So I just wanted to remind about that handy little search bar up in the top right corner of this blog under the header. Do you see it?

You can type anything in there from “pesto chicken” to “family home evening” and all the posts related to anything you type in will pop up. So much easier than it was in the old format.

So give it a try.

Still hoping to get those broken links figured out soon!

And also hoping to get more current on here. I’m still working to catch up with summer but so much is happening right now in life! Claire is playing so much volleyball she’s having a hard time balancing everything she’s got on her plate…and so are we since she had three games this week, two of which we were in charge of feeding the team dinner, and they were all SO FAR AWAY! Not sure what is up with the schedule taking us all over creation this season! Lucy’s homework is growing like weeds and we’re trying to figure out the right kinds of modifications to help her with her vision. Which is tricky since she is so fiercely independent and doesn’t want help in any aspect. We have her IEP meeting next week and we’re all hoping to figure out some answers together. Lucy started singing with the MCO choir and she comes out of those practices glowing with happiness.

Also one day last week my whole world came crashing down on me. You know how you can feel like everything is running smoothly only to get smacked in the face? Four out of my five kids were really struggling with some big things and everything seemed so dark and tough. I share this because although I’m a seeker of light and really try to see the best in things, there is also darkness that creeps in. And that is when, mostly looking back on it, that I learn the very most in life. Hopefully I can share more about this soon. I’m taking a class about “Grace” and I have been surrounded by so many women suffering from things you would never guess. We all carry our secret sorrows. And somehow, when we know that about each other and let ourselves be vulnerable we can gain so much beauty. Beauty for Ashes.

Sending wishes out for light and beauty for blog readers this weekend.


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  1. Ever since you switched, my blog list (on blogger) doesn’t update your blog any more (so I never see if there is a new post on my blog list). Do you happen to have another tip?

    1. Kerstin, I think that’s just a matter of entering the name as 71toes.com because the address changed with the new format. It used to have “blogspot” in there and now it’s just plain and simple 71toes. Try that and let me know if it doesn’t work!

      1. Unfortunately, that doesn’t do the trick. However it’s not a big problem; I check your blog way too often anyway! 😉

  2. I’m not having any problems with your blog – I still use basic Blogger as my feed reader and it’s updating just fine. Just thought you should know!

    Always so much, going on isn’t there? Thankful He hold it all! xo

  3. Hmmmm..hoping “your world crashing down” problems are just your usual description of normal everyday problems most parents have that you tend to overly emotionalize in your descriptions (like Max leaving for a mission…). Praying everything works out as it usually does with time…making everyone stronger and more grateful. Repeat..”All is well”..even when it doesn’t feel that way.

    1. I believe there are some things, especially in parenting, that it’s ok to get emotional about! Parenting is tough. Some things you can get through just fine and other things take all your might to work through when your children are struggling. Some things I can share here, some I cannot, but I feel it would be disingenuous to keep saying all is well when in all actuality some things are not so well.

  4. I never thought you “overly emotionalized” max leaving at all. I just did it myself and looked up your old posts so I could get some more of the courage I needed from your experience. Nor do I think you over emotionalize ever – I am grateful for your vulnerability. Parenting is not for the faint of heart….especially when you’re a mother that is sensitive, in-tune, and devoted to the role you play in your children’s lives. I had a week like you described. I totally get what you said. Plus, I have often thought about you and the permanent worry you have about Lucy…that is NOT a “normal everyday problem”. You’re a strong mother. Xo

    1. Thank you Sherrie! Sending out love for you as a fellow mother in the trenches of this beautiful/messy business of mothering! Sometimes we need each other to lean on, thank you for the encouragement. Love, Shawni

  5. I’m doing a Bible study on worry and was feeling pretty good about myself and my lack of worry and then BAM! Worry after worry popped up about one of my children. Parenting adult children can be tough. You have so little control over their choices and the outcome of those choices. All we can do sometimes is pray and trust God to guide them. Hope things are working out with whatever your kiddos are going through.

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