Right now there is so much I could say about the election, especially as a follow up to THIS discussion (and I love when there really is a “discussion” and not just people being mad at each other because that’s where the growth comes in my opinion). I learned so much from all the insightful comments, thank you! And I’m going to carve out some time today to make some replies over there. Yes, much to be said about it all, but since I’m not a political blogger, I’ll just echo what president-elect Joe Biden said in his statement this past weekend: “with the campaign over, it’s time to put the anger and harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation. It’s time for America to unite. And to heal. We are the United States of America. And there’s nothing we can’t do, if we do it together.” Amen.

All that political stuff aside, we’ve got a missionary to send out in two days.

This home MTC has been a pretty great experience I have to say, and I will talk more about it when I can get my brain and heart wrapped around it, but for today let’s talk about tennis and being “in the position.”

We had a song leader in primary in church years ago who the kids adored. She was so spunky and fun and made those cute primary kids’ eyes gleam with excitement when it was time to sing. And she was magical because she got those kids singing so beautiful and filled up with love for what they were singing, often teary-eyed the “felt” that music so much. One thing that I remember about her is that when getting kids ready to start singing a song, she would remind them to get “in the position.” She had taught them well what that “position” was: sitting straight up, lungs ready, eyes on her.

I think about that often, because for so much of life, if we want to get beauty out of it all, we need to be “in the position.”

One of my very favorite things about having Grace at home for her mission prep is that we’ve had the opportunity to play tennis practically every day since she started her MTC experience eight weeks ago.

And I’m not going to know what’s hit me on Wednesday morning when she’s gone.

Each morning we have headed over to our neighbor’s tennis court for our standing date at 10:00 after her first online class and have played our hearts out.

We started this little deal in the heat of the summer, sweating our guts out there on that court, imagining with relish what it would feel like to be there on that same court near the end of her MTC experience when it would surely be cooler.

And now it’s hard to believe that day has come, and we are actually wearing sweatshirts out there.

Sometimes we have added her siblings in the mix:

And sometimes with her dad (who dunked us in the pool when we were done one of the days since it was so dang hot):

We’ve played in the mountains:

And always, always have followed up our games with a green smoothie (Grace has mastered the green smoothie):

You may think all this tennis would make me a better player.

Yes, that would make sense, right?

But I have to say that as the weeks went by, I continued to take a dive in my tennis skills.

I was always a step behind, making my swing off kilter, a lot of errors. Sure, we had some great rallies, and we loved it all, but I lost. And lost. And lost again.

But you know what I realized? What I needed to do was to be “in the position” when Grace smacked that ball to me. I needed to be facing the right way, feet in the right spot to step into the swing, “in the position” so that I could catch that spin or run wherever she would hit it.

And gradually, gradually (because being “in the position” often isn’t easy), I started to be able to hit that ball back better. And harder. And I’ve even beat that girl a couple times with all that work.

The reason I bring this up? Because there are so many things to be “in the position” for in life. It means being in the position to reach up to God, to let Him into our lives. In the position to notice when someone might need a little encouragement. In the position to lift and to understand and to listen.

Learning to be in the position isn’t always easy, and takes work. But as I’ve learned to mold myself better into that position in so many things in life, I find so much more satisfaction and love and happiness.

So there you go, my thoughts on a Monday morning as I get ready to send my tennis partner off into the wild blue yonder of Texas and beyond.

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  1. This comment is about the “other” post you mention in this one. I left it there, but fear that it will be lost in the sea of other comments on that post.

    I think that there are two points missing from the discussion.

    ONE – Biden is seriously stricken with dementia. It is painfully obvious when watching him speak. It’s more than a “stutter” – since we demanded Obama’s birth certificate and Trump’s tax return – can we get a doctor’s note from Biden’s personal physician certifying his mental competence?

    TWO – everyone is so upset that Trump is not a nice person, that he is an SOB, and immoral. I agree. But are we voting him in as our BFF? I think we are voting for him to do a job, be the President of the United States.

    Example: If one of your kids needed a heart transplant and you have a choice of two doctors… one is a real SOB, cheats on his wife, cheats on his taxes, disrespectful of women… but he has a 99% success rate in heart surgery and was top of his med school class… the other choice is a really nice, albeit goofy old man, with the best of intentions, but not much skill. He’s a very moral, religious person, never cheated on his wife, and loves dogs…. but 50% surgery success rate, bottom of his med school class….

    Who would you choose to operate on your child? It makes absolutely no difference what this man’s morals are… can he do the job better….? That is the question.

    If we made morality and kindness be a job qualification to be President, we would have never had one, all the way back to the founding fathers. Most were philandering, nasty slave owners back then, and more recently, look at JFK – slept with women while President in the White House under his wife’s nose.

    People need to get real and elect someone competent who can do the job. Not become your best friend.


    1. Maria, I think your analogy is interesting but it relies on two things that you have presented as facts that are actually opinions. The first is that Joe Biden has dementia. I have listened to him speak and listened to the debates and not come to the same conclusion. I’m not saying that you are wrong, just that that is a subjective conclusion. You are right about the fact that since as a public we demanded birth certificates and tax returns from other presidents, that we can demand a doctor’s note from Joe Biden, but remember, other presidents haven’t delivered, so he doesn’t have to either. The second opinion is that Donald Trump is doing a good job as President. I simply don’t agree. I do not think he has done a good job at being a leader, problem solver, or really at most of the things required to be a good President of the United States. One thing he is good at is getting people to vote. That led to him being elected in 2016 and defeated in 2020. I do not bring up these things to be combative, but simply to demonstrate why some people might totally agree with your analogy and that we aren’t electing our BFF, yet still disagree with you about who should be President. It’s good for me to remember though, that my own reasons for voting for whom I voted for are also mostly subjective decisions. That helps me understand and relate to people who vote differently than me without vilifying them.

      1. I agree with you Rebecca. Misspeaking a time or two doesn’t not dementia make. Joe Biden is smart, well-spoken, compassionate, has plans and has the experience and humility to surround himself with advisors who will guide him in the right direction.

        I also agree that comparing a surgeon to the presidency is really not an appropriate comparison. Trump’s behavior (lies, tantrums, extreme views, rudeness, inability to listen to others) makes him a poor president and poor human being.

        Maria, I wonder how many dementia sufferers you know. None that I know can recall facts, statistics, or speak the way Mr. Biden does. Please refrain from unfounded accusations. I know it’s hard, the Republican Party is a big fan of unfounded accusations (voter fraud). I hope you’re enjoying Trump’s temper tantrum. The rest of us are appalled and embarrassed. I’ll pray for him, and hope he’ll be lead to the conclusion this is done so our country can begin to move forward. and I’ll continue to pray for continued wisdom for Mr Biden and Ms Harris in the months and years going forward.

    2. So many people coming from so many different thought processes, and so many things I want to comment on, but can I ask a favor? Can we keep the comments about the election on the other thread? I’d rather keep them all together there.
      Thank you!

  2. Would you please share the green smoothie concoction y’all are loving? It looks like banana, spinach, and pineapple but I was wondering if there is anything else. I love a good smoothie!

    1. Sure! Grace has worked to perfect it and it’s so good!
      1 handful of ice
      1 ripe banana
      2 handfuls of spinach
      2 scoops vanilla Greek yogurt
      approx. 1 cup frozen mango pieces
      approx. 1/2 cup almond milk

      How’s that for some detailed directions? 🙂 Let me know if it turns out!

  3. Being a surgeon is not analogous to being the leader of the free world, but I’m willing for the sake of argument to say it is: I would go with the surgeon who respects science, who doesn’t belittle and mock his own medical advisors, whose personal behavior hasn’t directly contributed to his own heart problems, and the surgeon who doesn’t continually fire the members of his own team. You’re right — I would not care about the surgeon’s personal life, but I would care about how he treated me and how he treated his staff. Do the other doctors and nurses in the OR feel comfortable speaking up if they think the surgeon is acting incorrectly? That would be incredibly important to me as a patient (or parent of a patient). Biden is old – yes, but I think he has demonstrated a level of intelligence, engagement, and empathy that far surpasses what we have seen from the incumbent. Moreover, I trust Biden’s choices and trust him to surround himself with intelligent, competent, experienced advisers with a range of opinions who free to speak the truth to him, not just telling him what he wants to hear to soothe his ego.

    1. That’s a really good point about the surgeon listening to other’s voices in the operating room. In the real medical world, not just the analogy we’re presenting here, surgeons and hospitals that are trained to listen to the low man on the totem pole in the OR have better patient outcomes. If the nurse says “wait! I thought we were doing the right leg” you want a surgeon who isn’t so arrogant to blow them off. And you need the OR to be a safe place in the first place so the nurse will say out loud “wait… is this right?” I voted for Biden.

  4. Since I am a political blogger it is fun to have a place to chat online outside of my own regular mosh pits of opinion.

    Thanks Shawnie! I have read every word you have written in this space for at least ten years and I am a huge fan.

    I reject President Bidens call for unity because sadly what that means is we can all get along only if people like me sit down and stay silent.

    Since I am an opinionated big mouth, I am not willing to be quiet.

    Especially right now when it appears there has in fact been some voter fraud.

    I hope you can keep this conversation going Shawnie. It takes so much bravery to moderate anything religious or political.


    Jenny Hatch

    1. Interesting, just checked out your blog.
      I think when you said you’re a “political blogger” you meant to say “conspiracy theorist”.

      1. I just read this article and was very taken aback. Not only do I strongly disagree with her political points, but I also strongly disagree with her idea of repentance. I am also a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the blessing of repentance is at the core of my testimony, as is the call to quickly forgive. I felt like she sees both of those things very differently than I do. The messages from the savior’s sermon on the mount, and when he appeared to the nephites are great places to learn about these things.

    2. Hey just hoping we can keep these political comments over on the other post about the election. I will try to come comment on them over there as well….as soon as I get my missionary out the door.

      1. Shawnie,

        I will just respond to Hannah real quick and then never comment again on a non political post. Congrats to Grace on her mission btw.

        I read the design mom post and all of the comments. Rarely have I felt so demoralized by anything I have read…ever.

        To even think that a group of sisters in our church believe that those of us who support the President and more importantly his agenda, are sinning?

        Do you ladies even hear yourselves? There is an old marxist denunciation activity that popped up in every communist country. Calling us to repent smacks so hard of the Maoist re-education meetings. A thick overlay of religion to cover for it is pointless. Design Mom is calling for huge swaths of the country to be sensitivity trained back into polite society.

        That is not going to happen.

        Jenny Hatch

        1. I agree with Jenny. The election isn’t over until the electoral college has voted. The thing that has concerned me the most is the things that have been said to me throughout the process by the women of my ward. Quite honestly I have an extremely strong testimony & am working to strengthen it daily because that is the ONLY thing that will help us individually survive the challenges ahead, but it’s hard to be around people who have been so vocally judgmental. People who voted for Biden are not morally superior or better members of the church than those who did not regardless if they think they are or not. That attitude alone should tell them something. Telling those of us who voted differently that we are somehow morally less than is WRONG. These same women (we’re in the Minneapolis area) started a book club to read only black authors to help alleviate their white fragility after the George Floyd incident. When I suggested that perhaps reaching out to the members in our ward who were black (1/4 of our ward – just not the young moms) and learning from them might be a more beneficial alternative I was berated for my racist attitude. Guess what? I’d rather learn & develop a relationship with those in my community & ward than spend my time worrying about what society tells me to do. I may be morally corrupt by their standards but I am beyond comfortable with my own standing before the Lord with what is in my heart and with my actions and I don’t need society or my politically correct ward members to determine that for me. In fact, I will shout from the rooftops defending the freedoms we enjoy, both religious & speech, regardless if others can see what is going on or not. In spite of being laughed at, mocked, criticized or being called to repent as Jenny stated because I could not in good conscience go before the Lord and say, I was fooled by society. I was taken in by Satan’s lies. I believed the mainstream media when they lied to me stating that my freedoms weren’t under attack. I chose to treat my brothers and sisters who were black or any other color as equals as Christ would do rather than lumping them together into a group of individuals who needed to be treated ‘special’ because of their color as critical race theory pushed by the Democrats does (the most racist behavior ever!). Because their color, just like mine, does not define who they are! I hope my voice & actions show that all lives matter equally, just as BLACK LIVES MATTERED LONG BEFORE THERE WAS A MOVEMENT TO TELL US THEY DID!

  5. Good Luck getting your daughter off to the mission field! I’m so so happy to hear how wonderful the home MTC experience has been for you and your family! My daughter has received her call to the Arizona Tempe mission, and was just notified she will be doing home MTC as well. I am open and hoping for any tips to make her experience the best possible! Also, she is hoping to come to Arizona during Thanksgiving Break and take some missionary pictures in the desert. Are you or Claire still activity doing photography? We would LOVE to have you or Claire take her missionary pictures, or even recommend an experience missionary photographer in the Tempe/Mesa/Gilbert area. And who knows? Maybe we will be joining in on the Turkey Trot this year! Best to Grace!

    1. Thank you Carla and I’m so excited for your daughter. The home MTC has been a pretty great experience over here, I bet your daughter will love it! I don’t do photography any more and I sure wish Claire did (she could use a little side job right about now!). The only photographer I can think of off the top of my head is here: https://www.reaganblake.com/
      We’d love to have you (and anyone else who’d like to join us) with the Turkey Trot but it’s going to be a little different this year due to the state of things right now. It will be a virtual Turkey Trot and they’re hard at work figuring out some pretty great things to make it exciting this year. Updates coming as they are available here: http://gilbertturkeytrot.com/

      1. Thank you for the recommendation! Sorry to hear about the Turkey Trot – so appreciate your positive contributions!

  6. I hope Grace has a beautiful mission experience! Our daughter is serving in the California Ventura mission and I’m eagerly awaiting her return in March! It never seems to get easier sending out a missionary. My mom heart is going out to you as you say goodbye but what a blessing that we can talk to and see them every week now. It always brings me so much peace to know that they are Heavenly Father’s children and He knows exactly where they are at every moment of the day and is taking perfect care of them.

    1. It felt so much easier sending her off today knowing I would be able to talk to her soon! So excited for you to get your girl back in March! That’s coming fast!

  7. Shawni you are so gracious to share your family with us. I love reading your posts. Im excited for Grace and your family as she departs to Texas to serve her fellow brothers and sisters. It will be exciting for her to meet those Heavenly Father has prepared for her to meet. Blessings to Grace and your family as she serves the Lord with her heart, mind and shares her testimony 🙂

    1. Thank you Tammy!
      And Melissa, I deleted your comment here since there was a duplicate on the other thread, and trying to keep the political stuff over there.

  8. I love these thoughts on being “in the position” to let God in and to lift those around us. I want to do better at giving myself time to think/ponder/meditate, and also to organize my time so I have the ability to help when and where I can.
    Good luck to Grace — I’m sure she will be a light to everyone she meets. 💜

    1. I definitely need to work on being “in the position” for all those things too! And thank you for the encouragement for Grace. I’m so excited to hear any word from her!

  9. Being “in position” resonates with me. I think it’s going to help me get my backside in gear.
    You never know how what you say will affect someone.

  10. Ha! I do have to say that I have been wishing that I had gotten that smoothie recipe from Grace before she left so thanks! And also she told me that you won the last couple of matches before she left, so you must have been not only in a good position on the court but also in just the perfect position to send her off on her next grand adventure.

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