There is a book someone gave me years ago called “The Precious Present.”  It’s a simple read about someone searching high and low for a precious “present” he had been promised.  In the end he realizes that “present” is actually the “present”…what was happening right in front of him.  He had been so worried about looking for it elsewhere that he had forgotten to enjoy it while it was happening. 

I think that happens so much in life…we think when such-and-such happens then we will be happy.  But man alive, the present is such a present!  That’s one of the reasons I chose “present” as my “one word” a few years ago (back HERE).  I want to “be there” and not somewhere else. 

Long introduction but hey, just to say that I want to record the present as it’s happening and sometimes I get carried away talking about what happened a few weeks ago.  So I like doing these “thoughts” posts every now and again to remember what’s happening right now, today.

So before I finish recording our Christmas adventure let’s get back to the present for a minute.

Because life is spilling out over here I tell you!  After some adventures for a few days in the Galapagos to finish off Ecuador (which I’ll get to soon), we took our red-eye flight from Quito to Houston en route home, and that’s where we had to split up with Dave who had to head from there directly to China for some work stuff.  And from there he went directly to Canada (that part was for fun…he was meeting up with friends to ski up there…it had been planned for a long time and just so happened to coincide with those other travels).  And it turns out that he got sick as could be and had to drive himself to the emergency room at 4:00 in the morning and spend the day there instead of skiing.  Poor guy. 

So, what in Heaven’s name does that have to do with all that “present” talk above? 

Well, it helps because that all that background makes me more grateful than ever for the “present.”

Dave has been in bed ever since he got home on Sunday…we took another trip to urgent care yesterday and finally today he is able to keep things down and I think he’s finally officially on the mend.  But this whole thing has made me more grateful than ever for him.  And that he’s my partner in life. That he’s willing to go on adventures with me.  That he gets the gospel and how we live it in the same way I do.  That I can talk to him about anything and everything.  Man I’ve missed that as he’s been gone and then too delirious to even put together a normal sentence.  As I was working out this morning I just kept smiling thinking about him for some reason.  Maybe because sometimes he comes with me to work out, or maybe because I just miss him, but I’m the luckiest that he’s mine. 

So grateful he got at least one day of skiing in before he checked himself into the hospital!

I’ve also had a renewed appreciation for my girls.  Man alive, I never would have guessed I’d have so many of them, and I’m just so so grateful.  They have stepped up to the task helping out so much.  Grace especially, I have no idea what I would do without her running carpools, errands, helping to prepare meals, she is a gem of a girl and doesn’t complain and I’m just so grateful for her!

We heard so much about The Greatest Showman so we made a point of situating carpools and life in such a way that we could get to the theater to see it that one day we had with Elle before she left to return to Hawaii.

Just look at that picture of all those girls.  Sometimes I am just overwhelmed with gratitude that I get to be their mother.

With Dave not around I have held them closer than usual and had them all to myself and sometimes I just marvel at them.  Sure, they have their issues.  Grace had to have her phone taken away twice this week (she had it in her room) and the moodiness swirling around here often drives me bonkers, but man I love them.

I got to take Grace out on a special date while Claire and Lu had their own special date at home (with some friends) and sometimes, in a life that can get overrun with “stuff” there is just something so velvety good about having time one-on-one.

I’m also thankful for our dog.  Is that just crazy?  She is [finally!…after a lot of work] so good and obedient and she makes these girls so happy. 

We took her to a place to try to get all her crazy matting out of her hair (it was awful) and this lady was able to do it!  (We didn’t want her to be all shaved when Max got home so we were extra excited about that:)

Grace was the one who picked her up and sent me this:

Which I had a good laugh over. 

So grateful for cousins who we got to gather with on Sunday and have an early celebration for Claire’s birthday.

Presently I’m also really, really grateful that I don’t always have a cold sore because I’ve had a huge honking one ever since we got home and I’m not in love with those things.
But let’s be honest, the most important and exciting “present” thing right now is that MAX IS COMING HOME TWO WEEKS FROM TODAY.
We got to go to his friend’s homecoming on Sunday…his last missionary friend out…Max is the last to come home.  And I just sat there and smiled and smiled because missions are the best.  This deserves a post of it’s own, so many emotions involved in this one, but I just cannot believe that in two weeks we will be at the airport hugging the guts out of that boy we love so much.

Yes, the present is a present if we remember to look at it that way.  And I’m off to enjoy it even more by taking Claire out to lunch…and getting my invalid husband another piece of toast and some Gatorade:)


  1. I'm so glad you'll have all of your babies back (except for Elle) but you'll have seen them all within a few weeks of each other for the first time in two years. I'm so happy for all of you!

  2. Speaking of cold sores…they are awful! I know that everyone is different but I have found a way to keep them from getting so big and painful for both myself and my daughter. Hopefully this process can help you too. (Anyone who is squeamish might want to stop reading.)
    When I first feel them coming on and see the first little,tiny "blisters" I sterilize a needle with a flame and then pop them. I then put rubbing alcohol on it to dry it out and wash my face and hands where any of the fluid from the blister touched. I have to do this sometimes 3 or 4 times as long as new little blisters keep popping up. Then I use Abreva. That little tube is worth the money!
    Sometimes I have been where I can't take care of the cold sore when it first starts and it has gotten bigger than if I catch it right away. Your cold sore basically ends up being about the size you let the blisters grow to.
    I am sure you have tried different cures but I just wanted to share because this process has really saved me a lot of pain. They are so awful.

    1. I was just going to post and ask Shawni if she's figured out anything that helps as I am prone to them too:( Thanks for sharing this, I am going to try it! I have been taking Lysine for about 6 months now and I think it's help cut down on frequency and severity; I'm also adding in Zinc at the recommendation of my dermatologist. Cold sores are the worst!

    2. I will have to try that! I have tried pretty much everything in the book and the only thing that works is acyclovir. It works beautifully if I catch it before the blister stage but that's tough because they tend to pop out so quickly on me. I'll try this next time 🙂

    1. It's more viral congestion…and it's been so bad! But he's kind of turned a corner this afternoon and I think he's finally on the mend. Thank you for the suggestion!

    1. Yes this is the only thing I've found to work so far, and we keep it on hand always. But if I don't catch it right at the very, very first suspicion it's out of control! It is a life changer for sure when I I catch it in time.

  3. Shawni. What are YOU so busy doing that Grace has to do your carpools, run your errands and cook your meals??

    1. Tabby, find something else to read or person to follow that you enjoy and don't need to be rude to. Your comments are not needed and wanted here and Shawni has been very kind to to thus far. She doesn't need to explain herself but gee haven't you ever been out with two of your kids at soccer or hockey and asked your older child to start dinner? I couldn't count the amount of times I've needs to!

    2. It’s right there in the post, tend to her husband who was sick and had to get to the doctor. Not to mention Lucy. Not to mention more than one kid with an activity to get to.

    3. Well, there's a lot of thumb-twiddling going on. Ha! But really, there is a lot going on around here (as it sounds like Amy and kms can relate), and it's so awesome to have a helper who can drive! My hope for you this new year, Tabby, is to relax and not take things quite so seriously.

  4. You just can’t seem to help yourself, can you, Tabby? I can understand wanting to have discussions and dialogue, but you have gone way past that. Everything is snarky and judgemental with you and your comments that I really have to wonder how unhappy you have to be to constantly come back to Shawni’s blog to “share” your criticism of her and her family.

    Also, have you considered that maybe, just maybe, despite all of the pictures that Shawni posts, there’s some parts of her life that she doesn’t post, and perhaps it’s those unmentioned things that keeps her busy? And, have you also considered that Grace, being the kind and considerate girl that she’s demonstrated to be, doesn’t HAVE TO do all of the things for Shawni, but perhaps she volunteered, to help out? It’s so easy to judge, isn’t it, even when you don’t have the whole picture.

    At this point, I’m sure I’m not the only one who is tired of your negativity, something that Shawni tries to keep off her blog. So that makes me wonder if you’re just a troll trying to stir things up or if you’re just a terribly unhappy person that needs to bring others down.

  5. Please find another blog to read. Your negativity isn't needed or wanted here and Shawni has been very kind so far toward you. She doesn't need to explain herself about what she is doing so leave it be. Please.

  6. Both my sister and I had just horrible cold sores since we were early teens. What worked for me was doing a 3 month high dose of Valtrex twice a day. After that I didn't get a cold sore for 5 or 6 years. I do still get them occasionally mainly when I get a sunburn on my face, but if I take a pill it never comes full force and goes away in a couple days. The doctor said I could do another 3 month daily dosing if they became consistent again. Cold sores are so awful.

    1. And random, but if it does blister, aim your hairdryer on it for a few seconds at a time a couple times a day. The high heat dormants the virus and dries up the blister.

  7. I am so excited for your reunion with Max. I just know my mother's heart would be so overjoyed to hug my son after being apart for 2 years!!! So grateful for Max's missionary service. As you well know, there is no education like a mission. Love your family and all the joy you spread.

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