Years ago my sisters-in-law and I had a little rotation going.  Each week we’d take turns meeting at one of our homes and doing whatever little project that person needed.  It was a great way to get together and also get things done as our little toddler cousins wrecked havoc in a different area of the house πŸ˜‰  One day we helped one sister-in-law hang up a collage in her kitchen.  One of the things we hung was a sign that said, “Be Kind.”

Our little “helping” rotation didn’t last for too long because life got in the way.  All those baby cousins grew up and went off to school as our schedules filled with different obligations.  But I’ve thought of that sign often since then.

Kindness is a magical thing.  Not only does it make a difference to the person receiving it, but it fills up the heart of the kindness-giver as well.  It is manifest in countless different ways, but today I want to concentrate on my gratitude for the kindness of blog readers.

Last week I got the kindest letter from a blog reader as I do from time to time.  Not only did she share gratitude to me for sharing what I have shared over the years, but also some advice on the side as I get ready to send Max out into the mission field.

As that little note filled up my heart it made me ponder on kindness.  For the way it can change a dark day to light.  For the way we can build one another in a world that is sometimes infiltrated with sadness and sorrows.  Even so much as a little smile or quick comment can make all the difference.

That little note filled me up with so much gratitude for blog readers as a whole.  I mean, I feel that quite regularly, but that note spurred such a love for all that I learn from keeping this little blog here on the world wide web.  For this community of people from all walks of life who come here, whether daily or occasionally, to learn and to teach.  For the ones who write comments or emails and the ones who don’t.  For the ones who build me up give me the benefit of the doubt when I haven’t taken the time to think through what I say and yes, even for the ones who make me think when they are upset with what I share.

Through the years this blog has become so much more than a family journal.  
It is, and will always be first and foremost just that.  It has become such a great way for me to express my thoughts and feelings.  Things I want to remember and I want my children and their children and their children to have some day.   
But it’s become so much more because of blog readers.  
I have loved having a venue to share parenting ideas.  The ones passed down to me from my extraordinary parents.  The ones I’ve learned through the years from Dave’s wise and wonderful mom and dad.  The ones I’ve collected from friends and relatives through the years of trying to be deliberate in how Dave and I try to raise these children entrusted in our care.  I’ve loved being able to vent when I’m frustrated and to be built up by people I don’t even know on those days when I’ve reached the end of my rope.  We have felt the love from thousands who love Lucy and have sent her things and donated to the BBS cause and have shared their love even when they don’t personally know her.  People I don’t know have mourned with our family, traveled with us on adventures, shared their own advice and stories, and comforted us through the tough times.  We have received so many kind gifts and have become acquainted with so many lovely people who are trying to make a difference in the world.  My children have benefitted so much YOU, the readers of this blog.  They come home and read it after school practically every day.  They have learned from feisty commenters and from glowing kind ones as well.  
It’s become a sort of laboratory to make me think more deeply about human emotions in my own little corner of the world.  I don’t often get a chance to reach out and share the kindness I receive here back individually but I want to say right here right now that it matters.

It matters in every aspect of life.  At the grocery store, stuck in traffic, in a family, with strangers.  Kindness makes the world go around.  Thank you for those who exhibit it so graciously here on this blog.  I am truly grateful for you.


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  1. My little boy just turned 2 and my twins turned one 2 months ago. My husband and I don't have a lot of family support and we moved to another state before the twins were born. Your blog has been a sort of lifeline for me this past year. It's been a tough year, but your blog has brought so much joy into my motherhood role. I really don't have the adequate words, but thank you for being who you are.

    1. Jordan! You're in the same boat as I! My twins just turned on last month and my older boy is about to turn 3 next month with no family close by. Shawni's blog is a great resource for so many things, hang in there momma, survive the first 6 months and it gets much easier after that!

  2. You're so sweet to say you're thankful for readers but SERIOUSLY so much more thankfulness goes towards you wise woman! Yours is my absolute favorite blog to follow, it's a resource for so many things for me as a young momma, parenting ideas, cooking, children, etc, you are SOOOOO kind to take the time to sit and write and share! I know the sacrifice it is to keep a blog updated and I can't imagine doing it with older and even busier kids so thank you from the bottom of my heart! Just this simple idea of helping sister inlaws who live close by get things done together to have family time and mom time, THANK YOU SHAWNI!

  3. Long time reader, first time making a comment. Love your blog. My first son has been in the mission field for just over four months. There are two things that I have found invaluable in helping me stay connected with him. The first is a wifi camera. Most cameras these days have wifi, but only the samsung brand doesn't require a computer connection. I think the one we bought is the Samsung WB35. Whenever my son has a wifi connection…like when he is at the church for a meeting or at a mcdonalds, he can turn on his camera and the pictures are automatically sent to me. It is so wonderful to see his face mid week, and it also saves him a lot of time on P-days so he doesn't have to email pics home. The second thing is a digital recorder. Ours is an olympus. It has a built in usb drive so he can plug it right into the computer. He sends us home a recording each week in addition to his letter. Basically he just talks for about 12 minutes. It is so wonderful to hear his laugh and to hear him speak the language. We also have a digital recorder and we send him recordings of our family talking. Some of his siblings send him their own recording. He can download these right onto his recorder and listen to them when he is back at his apartment. He has LOVED having that connection, and so have we. Hope that helps. It is a bittersweet time. xoxo

  4. Shawni, I absolutely LOVE your blog. I love your mothering heart, that you respect and love your husband, and first and foremost, our Heavenly Father. I love to see how you run day-to-day things and you make me love mothering and having little ones to love and steward. Thank you for sharing with us!!!

  5. I've been around for a long time. I guess I started reading your blog in 2008?? What?? Anyway, I don't comment very often anymore, but we have corresponded several times. I have one of your temple photographs hanging in my bedroom, and I've often referred to you as "my blog friend". πŸ™‚ I have been thinking a lot about kindness lately, too, and how very important it is. I've watched you respond to unkindness with kindness so many times, and I appreciate that example.
    One day, by golly, I'll get moved back to Arizona so we can meet in person!

  6. In light of recent events where some popular "Mormon bloggers" have very vocally distanced themselves from the church, and have in fact turned downright ugly……
    I just want you to know your blog is my favorite- it has stood the test of time, and you have not and will not waver-I love that!
    I am a about the same age as you, with kids the same age, a gospel that I love and try daily to live, an autistic son with special needs, a cheerleader and a life every bit as busy as yours-
    Your blog is a breath of fresh air and I see myself in you when you post. Thank you for putting your life, kids, family, travel, time, energy, talents and love out there for all of us to enjoy! Keep up the good work! πŸ™‚

  7. I've commented a number of times thanking you for all that you share and do, but feel compelled to do so again. You are my absolute favorite blogger and such an inspiration to me as a mother. I need to email you a picture of our family's thankful tree, because it is beautiful and will now be a lifelong tradition that would not be gracing the side of our pantry if it wasn't for you. Your intentional parenting inspires me beyond words and your beautiful family has me dreaming about what our little family will grow up to look like some day. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all that you do. And now that I know your adorable little family reads this as well, thank you, too! I hope my kids grow up to be as loving, spunky, talented and well-rounded as each of you!

  8. You are so sweet! I very much enjoy reading your thoughts about things, especially your family. I'm only 19, but I hope to take some of your ideas when I become a wife and a mother.

  9. My sister and I will often text each other, "So I was reading Shawni's blog and…" Thank you for being such an invaluable resource! I have learned so much from reading your blog. You inspire me every day to be the best wife, mother, and woman I can be. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us!!

  10. I learn so much from you and your blog. You inspire me to want to be a better person. When I tell someone about something I have read or learned from you I don't say I read it on a blog – I say, "I learned this or heard this from one of my Friends." Thank you for sharing your family with all of us. You're the BEST!!!

  11. OH, how you inspire me! My child is grown but is faced with mental issues. She is a blessing to me. You have helped me be more patient with her. I have learned things from you time and time again. You remind me of things I've packed away unintentionally. You make me laugh, cry, think and more. I want to do better and be better because of things you say and do. I'm so thankful and glad that you share your family with us. I so wish I could give you a huge hug. You have made a difference in my life and I'm so grateful.

  12. I also wanted to add that we started doing a thankful tree last year, and my kids absolutely love it (as do I)! I usually cut a bunch of leaves from construction paper and then each night after dinner, the kids get to write down a leaf what they are thankful for that day and put it up on the tree. As we draw closer to Thanksgiving, the tree grows with more and more leaves. It's something we really look forward to, so thank you for the wonderful idea that has now become a tradition in our home!

  13. When I was a child, my mother use to say to me, "Kindness goes a long way". It really does. It makes the world a better place. Appreciate your blog–appreciate your mother who I became aware of during my BYU years, right before I had my first child. Many years later, it has been great to follow your parents blog and family members blogs, as well. There is much to see, much to learn and much to appreciate as my daughter and I follow along. We oft times discuss parenting issues/ideas, travel plans, or our fav flat bread recipe as she and I stay connected to each other through the miles. Thank-you.

  14. Shawni, I so appreciate you and have mentioned to you over the years how much I appreciate all the parenting information/education. It has been a true blessing to my family. I am so grateful you take the time out of your busy schedule to share so many valuable nuggets. My heart sends you a big hug for all that you do.
    Two quotes that I try to live by:
    My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness. Dalai Lama
    Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless. Mother Teresa
    Many blessings this holiday season!

  15. This is great food for my soul. I know how much time and effort this blog has required as well as how much joy and agony it has created in your life. Despite a few detractors, I am so happy that you have determined to continue writing and chronicling with your fabulous photography rampant realness, inspiring deep thoughts, creative ideas and pure love for family life. I adore all these loyal readers and their kind words. I am blessed to be your mother. Carry on!

  16. Thanks for always being willing to share! I love this blog and it inspires me, teaches me, and gives me so much to think about. I always come away a better person after reading!

  17. Thanks for always being willing to share! I love this blog and it inspires me, teaches me, and gives me so much to think about. I always come away a better person after reading!

  18. I love your blog!! Thank you for sharing your thoughts, ideas and lives. I love to copy your ideas and traditions. πŸ˜‰ You enrich my family with your wisdom and kindness. Happy Thanksgiving!

  19. Hi Shawni,
    Thank you for a brill blog.

    Even tho I'm single & don't have children I still enjoy reading it.

    Hi also to Dave, Max, Elle, Grace, Claire & Lucy from the UK if they are also reading these comments.:)

  20. Oh man, I didn't mean to lasso in more kindness but I sure did! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all this kindness! I wish I could reciprocate better!

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