I was worried about Lucy so I picked her up to take her for a pick-me-up lunch date (haven’t done this in way too long).

Claire found out about and begged to come too, so I lucked out with both girls in the middle of the day. We ended up on a bit of a goose chase to get food they both liked as well as picking up something for Dave in our little sliver of allotted time, but the car was all filled up with tangible love.

I wonder if my girls can feel this?

I wonder if they will remember it?

Maybe not the very moments, exactly, but I hope feelings like that can weave golden threads into their hearts that will be tethered to mine even when they grow up and spread their wings.

Claire had her “Nike Tournament,” was out of school for another Friday, and I took pictures before they headed off for the big dinner they hold for all players the night before.

It was “Western” theme this year.

Those girls all came home with stars in her eyes and told me the story of how their team helped start the giant dance party again, just like they did last year. That girl is fun.

Dave was so endearing finishing Lucy’s math homework at the kitchen counter after they had worked on it together for hours and still hadn’t finished,

Claire has had volleyball and more volleyball and man alive, it’s like I’m in a drought and I cannot get enough water. Ha! It is so fun.

Dave and I are holding onto this volleyball season with all our might. I can’t believe we are nearing the end of her high school volleyball career. Her high school everything career for that matter.

Lucy doesn’t come to many of the games, she can’t see if she did, but sometimes, when there’s a great sunset, I send it to her on the way:)

Lucy keeps herself pretty busy with her practicing and man oh man, she’s getting good at that piano business.

The way she learns music is pretty amazing.

She has me help her with a few tricky parts and BAM! She has it memorized.

I volunteered at MCO (Lucy’s other choir that she adores), my heart aching that Lucy’s only friend in that sea of singers hasn’t been available to come lately. Hoping we can keep her excited about that music that has power to move.

Speaking of music, I love that Lu wanted to go support her friends who play in the orchestra. She wrote me the cutest text during the day asking if we could perhaps get tickets.

Oh and I jumped on that bandwagon speedy-quick.

Man alive, those kids are good cellists…made me feel super inspired (and like I have a LOT to learn) about my own cello practicing! Yikes, that vibrato! Loved snuggling in together with that intent listener at my side.

Claire has had a pretty fun football season with her friends.

Here she is headed out to the “USA” themed game:


Dave and I sometimes look at each other and smile because we feel so lucky we get to have these two around who make life pretty interesting and grand.

Ok, and I guess we better acknowledge this furry girl who is also pretty fun to have around:

Yeah, we like her too:)

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  1. I feel you! It’s Amazing, and awe inspiring, to see our kids grow into young adults! Great to see that your girls have each found activities they love. Practicing anything is great practice for life, I think

  2. Your girls are beautiful! Two things for you to elaborate on if you don’t mind.

    Claire’s shoulders in her Nike dinner outfit.

    And Dave finishing Lucy’s homework….


    1. They are lovely shoulders, Marsha. Those shoulders allow her to set and spike volleyballs, lift her arms with joy, and bear the burdens of this weird world we live in where grown women feel entitled to comment about girls wear. Leave the kids alone.


      1. Yes, they are lovely and do all the things you said. But Shawni’s religion has a rule that says they should be covered unless doing an activity that requires them to be uncovered. Going to a dinner in a dress doesn’t qualify. Shawni has been asked about this before by other people about other children and I still don’t remember the reason she gave for it… that’s why I asked for SHAWNI to clarify. But thanks for your unsolicited reply as well.

          1. Am I creepy, because I remember a post from six years ago? Or was it just that good? Questions… 😀

          2. Thanks for the link, Kerstinek. And no, I don’t think it’s weird that you remember it..

            I think that post is interesting – but it doesn’t answer my question – it is a beautiful narrative as to how it is important to love your fellow man, be a good person, etc. – which is true.

            What I am asking is – and maybe there is not an answer – why is it ok to willingly choose to go against a rule that your religion has? Even if it is just a suggestion and not a rule – shouldn’t a person who is devout in that religion do everything in their power to comply?

            I understand if it’s an addiction, or something that the person can’t help succumbing to now and then… then – but choosing clothing over and over again that your chosen religion frowns on – that is what baffles me. I don’t care if her family doesn’t feel the need to comply with it – I just want to know why she thinks it doesn’t matter.

            Coffee, alcohol, pre marital sex – are those rules more important than the modesty rules? Which rules/suggestions is it ok to ignore, and why does she feel that way.

            And since Shawni probably won’t answer, please feel free – anyone who can explain this to me.

        1. I’m LDS and I agree with you , Marsha. For the Strength of Youth (which you quoted from) is from the First Presidency of the Church. Which means, that is what our prophet and other church leaders want us to do. We shouldn’t be picking and choosing which commandments to obey. We should be following all of them. Modesty included.

          1. Amen Sister K! I’m right here with you. Marsha, many of us LDS moms DO teach our kids to obey the prophet in all things, including attire.

        2. It’s taken me a while to come back here! Phew! But it looks like so many have answered better than I can. My best answer about the shoulder business is written up in great detail back in this post that Kerstinek already referenced: https://71toes.com/2015/06/the-gospel-according-to-me/

          Everyone is going to come at everything in life in all different directions. Our prophet and leaders have all given guidance and all kinds of words of wisdom which I am so grateful for and which I teach my children wholeheartedly. One bit of wisdom I love the most, especially while raising teenagers is this, directly from a prophet: “Teach correct principals and let them govern themselves.” Oh how our kids need this! How WE need this! If we as parents force things on our kids, do they really learn and change their own hearts? I personally don’t think so. They need to know that they are loved even as they are trying to figure out life, make mistakes, start all over again. That’s what life is all about, don’t you think? We’re all learning and growing and coming at it from different angles. And we need to give our kids grace to figure things out even if they do something different from how we may teach them.

          As far as the homework question, Lucy is incredibly diligent in her studies, but that one night, boy howdy! She learned the concept and it was so late that she had to go to bed, and Dave was trying to further figure things out so he could help her understand better to finish up in the morning. I many have phrased that a little weird up there in the post!

      2. I do feel like it’s a fair question but could have been asked in a more respectful manner.

        Shawni frequently shares content specific to the LDS faith, such as speaking at Women’s conference, the devotional app, etc. The modesty and undergarment topics, along with other topics, are being talked about in social media and those of us who aren’t Mormon would like to understand why some follow that suggestion and others don’t. My goal is to learn more about the religion and the people who make up that church body than to judge those who are bearing shoulders or lacking undergarments. I’ve had similar conversations with friends asking why is abortion wrong but premarital sex isn’t? Why is your faith opposed to gay marriage when you personally aren’t?

        These are tough topics. By asking a friend about them in a respectful way, I learned more about my friend and their religion. Since I don’t have any friends who are Mormons, I look here (and other places) to learn more about that faith. I believe it’s ok to ask questions that conflict with the values being presented and like it or not, modesty is one of those values. With that said, I understand why answering the question may put some added stress on anyone who is Mormon, especially after the conflict in August at BYU’s Annual Conference. There are so many big issues to understand but I believe all these smaller, seemingly inconsequential issues, add up and cause change.

        In case it’s not clear, it’s not my intent to body shame anyone. It is my intent to learn more about religions; by learning and discussing our core values, I feel like it becomes obvious that we much more similar than we are different.

      1. I asked a question. I am not judging the way anyone dresses. There is nothing wrong with not covering your shoulders – even if your religion says to cover them. My question to Shawni was why she feels that this particular rule/suggestion is not as important as the other ones that she obviously follows. Apparently Shawni feels like it is ok for shoulders to show – if her kids were just being rebellious and doing it in spite of Shawni’s direction, I would think that she would be embarrased to show the pictures of it on the internet. So she must be ok with it. My question is why?

        It seems to be a common thing here to jump on people who have questions, when there really is no need to. Is it because you have no answer that makes sense?

        1. Marsha, I think it is a fair question you asked. It actually isn’t a rule in the religion until you make specific covenants in the temple. Those covenants are usually made when someone is older.

          1. Ok, well that makes a little more sense. I didn’t understand it to be that way – it just says “young women” – please point out to me where it says it’s ok until you make your covenants.

            Here’s what I read:

            “Do not use a special occasion as an excuse to be immodest. Young women should avoid short shorts and short skirts, shirts that do not cover the stomach, and clothing that does not cover the shoulders”

            So, if a young woman (Elle for instance) doesn’t go to the temple and make her covenants until her late 20s, but another young woman (Claire for instance) much younger does, it’s ok and modest for one person to show shoulders but not the other?

            Modesty is modesty right, whether you’ve performed a ritual or not?

            Please elaborate.

        2. Thanks for your honest inquiry. I can’t answer for anyone else but I’d love to share from my perspective. Our foundational beliefs are that we are all children of Heavenly Parents who love us. They have given us the precious gift of agency, the ability to choose. We learn from our choices. They sent their Beloved Son, Jesus Christ to atone for our sins making it possible for us to repent (change to become more like the Savior) and to one day return to them. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is led by a modern day prophet. We believe there is peace and protection from following the prophet’s council. (Such things like you read about the standard of dress). However, ours is a gospel of inclusion and diversity of thought. Our Prophet has encouraged each of us to understand and listen to the promptings of the Holy Ghost to guide and inspire our personal, individual lives. Your specific question about a girl showing her shoulders is legitimate. When devoted members of the church choose to enter the temple, they make covenants with God. Part of those covenants is choosing to wear a temple garment. (You can find lots of information about this at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vvN4qJRBM0). Part of wearing the garment includes a certain degree of modesty in your dress. A similar guideline is set for our youth. However, more importantly, we look to that girl as a complete daughter of God. A teenager wearing something that some may deem as “immodest” is her/his right to choose. As a church of inclusion, we show love and acceptance and offer a higher, holier way, while allowing each individual to determine their own path forward. Of course we have foundational doctrines. Joseph Smith, the first prophet of modern time condensed the main points into 13 points or articles. You can read the “Articles of Faith” here: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/pgp/a-of-f/1?lang=eng&id=1-13#p1 It’s a good reminder to all of us that Article 11 states, “We claim the privilege of worshipping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.” Of course using male dominant language was commonplace at the time, but this covers all of mankind. Including those in our own religion. We allow everyone to worship God according to the “dictates of their own conscience.” No doubt it gets tricky. And standards and guidelines are important, welcome and can be a great protection. But ultimately the greatest commandment is to love. So, we try our best to love people where they’re at and continue to encourage all to grow closer to the Savior regardless of how their sins look different than our own. Doing that within our own families might just be the very hardest and the very most important place to do it.

        3. Because this question comes up often. And I guess it’s strange to me that you expect people to follow YOUR interpretation of THEIR religious rules to the letter. Why is it your assumption in the first place? I am curious about your own background? Do you come from a strict religious upbringing?

          1. Excuse me, I don’t “expect” anything. Several commenters agree with me, so I can’t be but so far out in what I am asking. I want to know why Shawni feels like it is not only ok to ignore certain rules, like the modesty ones, and adhere to others. It is not my interpretation… I want to know HERS…

    2. Hi. I can’t answer for Shawni, but as a devout member of the lds church with my own teenagers I can give my thoughts. We teach our kids the standards and pray for them to realize that they are a given from a loving father who gives laws as a way to provide safety and blessings. I teach my kids that things like modesty and swearing are commandments that set us apart from the world and by living them when young we can get used to being different so when other things come along like the temptation to do drugs in order to fit in, we will already have gotten practice with choosing Gods standards over other things. I teach my kids about the covenants we make at baptism which I summarize as 1. Loving God (always remember Him by developing a relationship with Him) A 2. Loving others (taking His name upon us by following Christ’s example) and 3. Loving ourselves (by keeping the commandments which bring safety and blessings). I teach them that the gospel looks like the cycle of trying to keep our covenants, making mistakes, making changes(repenting), and gaining additional Spirit, power, knowledge, joy, etc…. This cycle is meant to spiral us upwards and help us become like our savior. Then after (and continuously) teaching, I remember that I should honor their agency. Forcing the laws upon them is not heavenly fathers way and I try not to parent that way. It’s really hard to know where and when to hand over the choices to them but I believe it is important. I know they will fall but I trust in the Savior and his grace to help them rise and be stronger. I think of my own personal mistakes I made at their age and it gives me hope that if I can overcome so many desires to fit in, weaknesses, and sin then they can (and hopefully will) too. It is often in the overcoming through repentance that they learn first hand the love of the Savior. As they make their choices I continue to love them and share their imperfect pictures with others instead of hiding them away and pretending we’re perfect. As a parent I am humbled by the mistakes of my children and am continually drawn to the Lord to let him guide me. I hope this helps!

  3. I miss Arizona! We were ( distanced) neighbors for a bit. I wish we had met when we were there. Kids were at MCO too then ( unfortunately missed the NYC power outage trip which sounded so fun). Glad you get to spend these times with your girls. God bless!

    1. I wish we had met as well! We missed the NYC thing as well…it was between Grace & Claire and Lucy’s stints in MCO. God bless you as well!

  4. Love these girls and their determination to work hard on good and worthwhile things. Volleyball and piano are such great choices of ways to spend their time and effort!

  5. Thank you for all the insightful comments! So many things to think about. So interesting to think about human nature and how we all react to certain things, how we live our lives, what’s ok, what’s not. I loved this insight from Richard Rohr to add a little to the discussion. I think about all these teenagers (and adults!) in the world trying to figure out life and trying to figure out what they really believe:

    “Human beings seem to need to fight and engage with something before they can take it seriously—and before they can discover what they really need or want. The people who never fight religion, guilt, parents, injustice, friends, marriage partners, and laws usually don’t respect their own power, importance, and freedom. They remain content with the external values of the first “lawful” container, instead of working to discover their own.” (Richard Rohr)

    Do you believe this?

    I do think some of us are just natural “believers” and some want to question it all. I think both are ok and good, we are all so different. But at some point we do need to get down to the roots. The whys. And discussions like this help to try to figure all that out.

    It is interesting watching kids make decisions…not only in a religious aspect, but also college, friends, missions, classes, spouses, etc. Oh sometimes it sure seems like it would be awesome to make all those decisions for them! Believe me, I’ve tried! 🙂 But then I remember, where would the the learning and progression be if they just did what we told them WE thought was best?

    I’d love to hear other’s opinions on this.

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