I’m kind of sporadic on this blog lately but I’m going to try to do some gratitude posts here to keep me focused through all the hoopla coming up.

I have so much gratitude bursting out of me lately.

And it’s a weird balance to write about it here on the blog because I know with social media it’s sometimes somehow depressing to see endless “amazing”‘s and “wonderful”‘s and “look how great this is!” stuff.   I want to keep it real, and let’s be honest, no one has bright sunny days all the time and everyone has their own secret sorrows.  Vastly different from one another, yes, but they are there.  We have had some pretty great things going on here lately and I’ve been trying to keep record of it all before I forget.  But I haven’t taken the time to sit down and record some of my more heavy thoughts lately…I will get to it at some point.

Honestly it is so true that gratitude is so good to make the rough and tough stuff seem so much smaller.  When I focus on what I’m grateful for all the worries and bad stuff seems to pale in comparison.

The weather has been glorious here in the desert lately.  Just that alone makes my heart want to sing.  But for today I want to talk about what made my heart have wings last week.

You know that saying right?  Not sure where it came from, but I experienced an extended dose of my heart growing humongous wings a couple weeks ago.

It happened while I was at Parent/Teacher conference.

I never quite know what to expect when I go see Lucy’s teachers.  For some reason she has been blessed with the most extraordinary teachers of all time.  Teachers who make me cry they are so good to her.  Teachers who have changed her life for the better.

Sure, all good teachers do that to some extent.  But as the mother of a girl with some special needs that ability is magnified ten thousand times.

So given Lucy’s track record of teachers who “get” her, it seems like I may start expecting that but I don’t.  I always wonder what in the world that teacher is going to think of her moods, her slightly obsessive compulsive behaviors, the fact that sometimes she will bawl if she doesn’t get a chance to read aloud in class, etc.  Dave and I have been extra worried about third grade because lots of things change and get tougher.  Worksheet print gets smaller, reading comprehension gets more tricky, and multiplication and division add a whole new dimension to the math arena.

So I went into that classroom last week with a little trepidation.

…until that wonderfully dear teacher began her glowing report.

She showed me lots of Lucy’s work.  She commented on how creative she is.

How artistic her handwriting is.

How in love with her creative story she was:

How good she is at setting things up:

How well she listens and is quick to obey.

How she is in the top reading group and getting close-to-perfect grades on almost every assignment.

And I wonder if that teacher could feel those heart-wings of mine growing.

I sat there in awe and wonder at yet another teacher who “gets” my girl.

Of sweet friends who are patient with her stubbornness.

Of her siblings who teach her so much every day.

Of Dave who tells her the most imaginative and wonderful stories from which I’m sure she bases her imagination for writing her own.

Of the fact that she’s so willing to work hard.

And even in awe of her unrelenting determination that kills me sometimes but that will get her places in life.

The teacher went on to tell me how much she adores her Braille teacher who comes in twice a week.  She has figured out a way for Lucy to not feel ostracized from the rest of the class and lets her pick a friend to come work with her on Braille each week.  The kids love to be picked (Braille is a pretty cool thing to learn), and Lucy’s chest puffs up with pride that she gets to learn it.

Yes, as I left the classroom that day my heart could have burst right out of my chest.  I went home to share all my news with Dave and the two of us called Lucy in for a special “meeting” of love and pride with tears filling our eyes.

Yes, it may sound dramatic, but that day gave me a full understanding of how hearts can really grow wings and fly.  Because that’s what all three of our hearts did that evening.

Sometimes worry and concern can flip around and create such an amazing high.  

And that, my friends, creates some serious deeper than deep gratitude.

I know there’s a lot more worry to come.  Just because academics seem pretty “on” right now doesn’t mean we aren’t worried sick about how she sometimes wants to hoard food, how she her eyes seem to be degenerating a little faster, how her feet are turning more outward and making it more awkward for her to run, and the list goes on.  I know there are things that sweet teacher didn’t tell me.  Claire has seen Lucy bawling in the hallway before.  Her emotions still run high.

But for that day in time right there to get such a glowing report in the midst of lots of worries felt like a huge slice of Heaven.

I’m so grateful for that sweet girl of ours and every mentor in her life.  Strangers who say hi to her on the street, friends who don’t care that she’s a little different, so many family members who love her, and for what she teaches us each day.

And I’m equally grateful that her beautiful blue eyes can still see well enough to make creations like this:

…and this:

…and this:

Those last two are still in progress, but killing me with those eyelashes and smiles.
Smiles that match mine.
Yes it’s true that gratitude can give our hearts wings.  
And it is grand.

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  1. I can easily see why you cried because I did too. I love that girl of yours and her art is out of this world awesome! Hugs and kisses for both of you.

  2. Lucy reminds me a lot of myself as a child. She is so blessed to have so many supporters in her life, and your family is so blessed to have her!

  3. You and your family have said many times that you support, help and accept non-traditional families. Obviously your church feels differently. Please explain.

    From ksl.com

    SALT LAKE CITY — The LDS Church confirmed Thursday that children living with same-sex parents or guardians will not be allowed membership in the church until reaching "legal age" and the individual "disavows the practice of same-gender cohabitation and marriage."

    The new instructions are included in a revision to Handbook 1, the guide for stake presidents and bishops.

    The criteria for membership also requires an individual to no longer be living with a parent "who has lived or currently lives in a same-gender cohabitation relationship or marriage."

    1. I don't think you are being fair to ask that. A Jewish person can be Jewish and not keep kosher. A Catholic can be a Catholic and want women ordained. She isn't one of the First Presidency. She isn't a stake president or bishop. She isn't even wearing the name tag of sister pothier. Why must she explain the policy or how she feels about it? If you have to agree with every dictate, memo, and letter from someone in the leadership of the church you are no longer in a church but a cult.

    2. Hi Shawni, all I know about Mormonism I know from the official website of your church and blogs like yours and your sisters, and nieniedialogues for example. So I would love to hear your opinion about this topic, what you personally think about it. If you think this is totally inapropriate, I sincerely apologize. (I am NOT "Unknown"!)

    3. Thanks for this, and for all the kind and polite comments in this whole thread. Thank you, dear blog readers for always having my back. Thank you for your love of Lucy and what she's going through and thanks for celebrating with us on her accomplishments. Oh man I'm so grateful for such goodness in the world!

      As far as the church handbook goes, this has obviously been a rough announcement for many. As I mentioned below in my other comment, I have had many a discussion over the last couple weeks on this topic. I've mourned with those in mourning and been enlightened by the thoughts of others with beautiful answers. My heart has been heavy. Heavy for what I don't understand. Heavy for things happening in Paris and around the world. Heavy for what is coming in this world and how to prepare my children for it. I am far from an official spokesperson for my church, just one trying to live the gospel as best I know how, sharing the joy it brings to me and my family. I don't know that I have the words to eloquently share my feelings at this point, but I will say that I believe whole-heartedly in a God who loves us. Every single one of us. He sent his Son to die for our sins. He wants us to live our lives with love and goodness.

      I love what an "anonymous" wrote on my sister's blog about Him and the new handbook:

      "He isn't turning away any "sinners" or non sinners. All our welcome in the fold of God. But they do have to make certain sacrifices and promises to be allowed in His presence. God is a God of order and cleanliness. And the scriptures say, a child is cleaner and more pure than anyone else and admitted directly into the presence of God. Baptism is a way for all the rest of us to be allowed in His presence, but even if a person is baptized, they still have to be clean and righteous. Baptism is NOT the only way we come closer to Christ. The heart is so much more a part of that process. And the church will readily accept any who's heart is in the right place and has the right desires."

      (THANK YOU Anonymous!)

      I love what she wrote about the HEART and the process it goes through to know God and follow Him. I'm so grateful for how the church I belong to helps my often broken heart and leads me to come closer to my Savior.

  4. Didn't say she had to agree. Just wanted her to explain how she feels about it. If she would come here and say "I know this is what the church dictates but I DON'T PERSONALLY AGREE WITH IT" that would be great. But she won't. You can say all day long that she doesn't have to agree with it. Fine. Let's hear her come out and say she openly disagrees with something handed down by the so-called anointed prophets, who are getting it straight from God's mouth – or so they say.

    1. Unknown-You seem to think Shawni has to answer to your demands. Why should she? You claim to want a discussion from her, but your abrasive manner indicates otherwise. You also routinely call those that rise to her defense as "fan girls," yet lack the self-awareness to realize your manner is precisely why people respond that way. And to top it off, you lack the courage to put your caustic remarks with your real profile. I'm not sure what is worse-your demeanor or your cowardice. Shawni, nor any other memeber of the LDS faith, is responsible to explain the administrative policies of their faith to you. Don't bother replying, although I'm sure you can't help yourself.

    2. Shawni embodies the LDS faith to many who read her blog, including me. What is wrong with asking someone of a certain faith about various doctrines and policies – especially when they seem to go against this person's perceived values?

      Shawni doesn't HAVE to answer and she does not OWE us an answer. But it sure would be nice to hear her thoughts on it.

  5. I just love Lucy's colorful artwork & creativity. Her teachers sound fabulous. I think it's true that when we are grateful it helps us focus on the good. I need more of that for sure. Thanks for the reminder.

  6. Hi Shawni, I love Lucy's artwork especially her use of such bright colors. I remember you posting quite awhile ago about an art class that she took. You were sad that she couldn't continue because the material was becoming too challenging for Lucy. My daughter is 6 and loves art. She is constantly drawing and coloring. We live in Gilbert as well and I was wondering if you could give me any recommendations for an art teacher, like the one Lucy had. Thanks! ebcoons@gmail.com

  7. From one "Unknown" to another (my name is Lisa- but it pops up "unknown" because of the way my blog is set up under the email account- which is shared).
    "Unknown" this was a blog post about a beautiful girl and a mother sharing her feelings that are close to her heart. To try and take away from that, by bringing up criticism of her religion is not appropriate.
    There are those who ask questions because they truly want to know and others who ask because they are looking for fuel for a debate and argument. Your reason appears to be the latter, as your wording is extremely confrontational and assuming. "If she would come here and say 'I know this is what the church dictates but I DON'T PERSONALLY AGREE WITH IT' that would be great. But she won't. " You seem to already have all the answers. And then "Way to ignore the elephant in the room…" and then proceed to say "at least Charity had the decency to respond." The negative tone of your comments speaks volumes. It is sad you feel you have to turn the focus of this beautiful post and beautiful little girl into a relgious policy debate.

    Shawni, I just want to say how much I love Lucy's work. She is a smart, creative, talented girl. She is blessed to have such a loving and supportive family. I am so happy she has been blessed with wonderful teachers too. It makes such a difference. I also love how she tries so hard to do her best.

  8. Well, regardless of my "tone" in asking a perfectly reasonable question regarding the church and faith that Shawni speaks about so much on this blog – there are other commenters here who would also like to hear Shawni's thoughts on the matter as well.

    And the fact remains – no comment from Shawni as of yet. At least respond to say exactly what you said or tell me to pound sand – but just to ignore it speaks volumes.

    Also, by the way – not everyone is going to walk on eggshells when they ask questions. If you are going to broadcast your lives (and your children's lives) on the internet, better not to be so easily offended by commenters.

    1. Wow, give Shawni a break! She might just need a little time to digest this information from her church before responding. I'm not sure if Unknown understands the concept of thinking before putting your thoughts out there :).

      Also, Shawni has never acted offended by her commenters. Other commenters come to her defense, but she's never said anything defensive. Right?

    2. Dear Unknown,

      I was under the impression a long time ago that you had agreed it may be better to change the tone of how you phrase comments here. I honestly don't know if you mean to lash out at me or at other readers…perhaps you aren't aware of how abrasive your comments come across? Or maybe you are just plain angry for some reason. Of course you can ask whatever you like, but I am not a confrontational person so you should know that I will probably never answer a question (or demand) that seems harsh or prodding for a one-sided debate. I'm sorry if I have misjudged your comments, but over the years you have led me over and over again to the same conclusion.

      I love discussions. I even love to hear the "devil's advocate" side (Dave is good at that:). I have had several deep discussions on this very issue over the last couple weeks…there is much to discuss. But I don't think that any of my thoughts on this would appease you here on this public forum so I refrain from putting them here.

      I wish you the best! I really do.

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