We weren’t quite ready to instigate our new “school year theme” at the beginning of the school year.  We chose “self-discipline” last year and, well, we didn’t quite feel like we had that concept under our belts very well yet by the time the new school year rolled around.

But like everything, self-discipline isn’t something you “gain” in a year.  Or a year and a half.  Or even a lifetime for that matter.  So we’re moving on to the word that’s been rolling around in my mind for a very long time.  It is a word that chose itself for my own “word” mantra for the year, and Dave was with me on feeling like it would be a good family word as well.  
So our little chalkboards that we leave on the counter all year long to remember our family theme have dwindled down to one this year:

I believe our world is in such a huge state of disconnect right now.  It’s so dang easy to be personally independent from one another.  We’re not, obviously, talking about being connected to the internet or to social media. 


That stuff is easy to be connected to.

This year our goal is to connect in deliberate and meaningful ways.

To connect more and better with each other.  Oh we love each other, this is true.  But can we work on our family connections?  Always. (we’re starting with a little jar in our kitchen where we can collect ideas that we want to do as a family…need to branch out from playing cards every single week for Family Home Evening.  Ha!)

Connect with friends, those who we need, and those who need us (and sometimes those are one and the same). 

Connect with our inner spirits as we strive to work on our New Years resolutions and the new Come, Follow Me program in the church (LOVE this form of connection that reaches it’s tentacles into so much of life). 

Connect with the earth.  Deep appreciation with it and the beauty and shelter and life it gives.

Connect with our cousin missionaries out serving in the world. 

Connect with our neighbors we don’t know very well yet, and even a stranger who may need a smile between classes or at the grocery store.

Connect with the world, news, current events, etc.  (I have some specific ideas for this I’ll have to explain soon.)

The list goes on and on, but mostly, if we want to really simplify, our goal is really to connect with God.  Because when we connect with God, we connect with all these other things too.  They’re all interrelated so beautifully. 

We just need to look up.  Look out.  Be aware.

This all takes work.  Of course.  Like everything in life.  But already over the first month of the year, I feel a gentle pull to connect.  To put away what’s not so important to and reach out to what is.


  1. Hey Shawni, last week it was -2 oC when in the town Dumfries (Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland), I saw 4 Elders in the street. They must have been frozen. I went into the shops got my things done and I saw them again. Went to the bank. Came out saw them in another area. No one was really about, for sure no one was stopping. It was windy cold and there was fog coming in and snow. I thought about your blog and how you loved it when you got pictures from people of Max when he was a missionary. (I have followed your blog for years, I am not LDS but I have friends who are). I went over to them, asked them if it was their P day, it wasnt, it was getting dark and they didnt have dinner appointments. As luck would have it, I had some cash on me and offered them it to them to get some Burger King (the nearest place I think), and I offered to take their pictures and put them on instagram if their parents had it to see them. Unfortunately they said their parents didnt. They were so surprised and didnt know what to say. It can be pretty miserable here in Scotland in the winter, I hope it gave them a bit of joy and that they are doing something worth while and that they reached out to someone who maybe needed the message they had to share. Yes, connect is a good one. (if anyone sees this comment and their boys are over here on a mission, they looked good but frozen. Stunned by me coming over to them, but in good spirits). Have a great day Shawni and family, through your blog, your message came through me and I reached out to the Elders, who were probably having a pretty rubbish day. 😉

    1. This was perfect. Made my day and like made theirs. I'm exmo but there is surprising amounts of kindness and support for missionaries in the ex Mormon community because what they are doing is TOUGH. Human connection for the win.

    2. I think this is just the sweetest thing. Thank you for being kind of for steeping out of your comfort zone to share a little of that kindness with those Elders. I'm sure you made their day!

    3. Brandon and Jamie, I hope that when my friends kids go out as missionaries that they encounter people who are kind. Play it forward right? So people keep it going, who knows, they may go to the home town of the Elders I saw. Wouldnt that be a cool thought!?

      Hey Natalee, it sure looks hard work and being told no, I dont have time a million times a day must difficult when you are hoping that the message you want to convey could change someones day or even life. Did you used to have a blog?

    4. Scrappy Cook, I hope one of their mums sees this and is like "Yeah they are ok over there". Life is tough enough isnt it, they probably thought "who is this woman?" "I dont recognise her from church". And maybe they looked for me on Sunday and I wasnt there.

    5. Aw I love that story! Thank you for sharing your heart with those missionaries…and thank you for sharing it here as well. I bet you were such a bright spot in their day!
      Love, Shawni

  2. Wonderful post. Years ago I had a near death experience. In the moment my Soul left my physical body and my consciousness expanded out and connected to every living thing on the planet. This connection felt incredibly simplistic and easy to fathom from that view point. There was this vibrational "hum" of loving joy that radiated out from each living thing and my being "registered" it right down to the "atomic" level of my Soul. With that was this perfect clarity of what each and every human was doing here on this planet (Soul Growth) and how animals were part of helping us in our growth by being some of the greatest teachers of how to stay connected within Love. (they are amazing at it!) There we are each seen as different but not less in any way. Each Soul has immense value. Connection = a true universal concept.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *