Ok, not just women, because there are some pretty cool men in this post too, but let’s focus on the women first because look who I got to be with for the women’s session of General Conference for our church a couple weeks ago:

Oh yeah, baby.

I lucked out.

It was the beginning of our Fall Break and we got to be in Utah for all that conference hoopla.

I sat there nestled in the balcony of the tabernacle between all those women listening to the speakers, looking down to see these three cousins nestled together and all was right in the world.

This is not a post about all that was said in that conference. Oh I could go on and on about all that I learned, all the “nudges” I felt. I could also go on about how the Sunday sessions were the worst listening I have ever done at a conference (let’s keep it real here…ha! So glad I can listen to all of it instantaneously whenever I want on my little phone in my pocket though!)

Maybe in a future “Sunday Ponderings” post I’ll share more of my thoughts about what was said, but for now I do HAVE to share this new Young Women theme because I adore it:

I think it’s beautiful. I’m thinking I’d like to adopt that as my “mantra” to say to myself every morning as I get ready to hit the day. How I want to remember all those beautiful things, and my girls to as well!

Loved that I got to sit next to this newest daughter of mine who I love so much:

And this sister:

…along with another one and sis-in-law who were too far ahead of us to catch, and another one who is far away in London, and lots more sister-in-laws I am lucky enough to be related to.

Love that Abby caught this shot in the elevator heading up to have a little dinner together:

Just all us women and some Japanese Curry and some cookies but most of all some good conversation. Love discussing the world with those women.

(Missed Claire who was in California with a friend, and Elle and Grace who are so far away!)

The boys went to a pre-season Jazz game and came back to join us and we were all bouncing off the walls in that tiny little condo…had to follow suite with Abby’s elevator picture to get that big crowd captured:

Let’s back up to earlier that day, because I got to take this little lady of mine to a conference session in the conference center:

How lucky is that?

Well, Lucy didn’t think it was really that lucky on the onset. She is so resistant to new ideas, that girl! But she came out of that place just glowing with gratitude that she got to be right there. She had been worried it would be too dark to color as she listened, but low and behold, it was light enough that she could actually take notes (she is a note girl).

Love that these two used the seats in that conference center for the first half, and we got to switch with them for the second half.

Kind of a fun fact: these two got engaged after being at the conference center exactly a year ago. How is that possible that time is passing so fast???!!

The next day (Sunday), we had breakfast at my sister’s house:

…and watched conference again all together, my two sisters and one brother’s families all jumbled together in Saydi’s family room, sun slanting through the windows, coloring and “conference bingo” going strong.

Some of us adults snuck out to get drenched in this beauty between sessions:

Guys, I have some quirks and I am a little dramatic I am well-aware, but this is where I get crazy: Fall leaves. I cannot get enough of them. Is it because I live in the desert and I miss it? Is it because my parent’s fanatic leaf-love rubbed off on me? I don’t know, but you’re going to have to brace yourself for the rest of this post, because we happened to be in Utah for the most gorgeous peak of Fall and I honestly could not get enough. I think I wore even my leaf-loving Eyre sisters out on my exuberance. And that is not an easy thing to do.

But I’ll end the post with more leaves (so you can skip them if you’ve already had your fill…ha!). First let’s check out this conference crowd:

Oh I love them!

And then we hopped right over to this crowd:

Because three of Dave’s siblings were in Utah too, and it happened to be this one’s birthday:

Oh I love them too!

Oh and we got to go to breakfast with this friend we claim as a sister:

So many people we love in Utah!

Lucy got to have a special date with Max & Abby:

We also stopped by my brother’s house while we were in Provo.

Yes, we sure made the rounds!

Did I mention how strange it was to only have one child? We hooked back up with Claire the rest of the week, but for these few days it was just us and Lucy…ok and a million other families we love, but you know what I mean?

It was like she died and went to heaven to get the opportunity to be with these cousins:

Lu got to stay with Emmaline while Saren, Saydi and I set off in search of a gorgeous hike.

We drove up to Guardsman’s Pass, parked, and since I had my breath taken away the whole drive up looking out at all that Fall beauty, I crossed the street alone to look out on that vast expanse of beauty below while Saren and Saydi checked the map.

I stood there and was completely overcome to the point of tears. I experienced the deepest connection I have ever had with the Earth and my gratitude for how it cradles and nurtures us in so many ways. We are the luckiest to live in this place!

Pictures will never do it all justice, but I’ll just share a few from our hike.

We hiked up to the rim first where we could look out and see beauty as far as the eye could see:

See that lake in the midst of all those trees in the picture below?

From the ridge we set off and hiked to it.

Through this:

(And a lot of negotiating trying to take care of our families en route), but we finally reached the lake:

Gosh I love these best friends I get to call sisters:

(Missed all you other sisters!)

Drove through more beauty:

…that took all our breath away:

…To meet up with these two right where we took their engagement pictures a little over a year ago.

Aw how I love them and all those other people in that gorgeous state of Utah. And how GRATEFUL we were that we got to be there.

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  1. Hi Shawni – I have always noticed how happy everyone seems to be in your photos. While you are also good about keeping it real, I find myself wondering: how is this possible? (I ask genuinely, as someone seeking more joy and happiness in my own life while I wait for a partner and family of my own at a much later age than I would have expected to be.

    1. Hi Rory! We are generally more happy than not but that doesn’t mean there aren’t bad days mixed in, especially with teenagers! I have actually been studying in a class about what brings more joy and happiness, and I feel like there are some key elements: 1) working toward goals, which lead to growing and learning…getting out of our comfort levels, and 2) being grateful for everything that comes our way and 3) have trust and faith in a higher being. Even in the depths of sorrow there are things to be grateful for. We were studying the Apostle Paul in Philippians this last week (as part of the “Come Follow Me” program in our church: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/manual/come-follow-me) and we were discussing how Paul was in prison when he wrote his epistle to the Philippians (Philippians 4: 4-13). It is filled with words like “rejoice” and “peace” and “Content.” I believe Paul was able to rejoice even in his dark circumstances because he put his faith in Jesus Christ.

      I don’t know if you are a religious person or not, but I do believe that having faith in a higher being brings me and my family so much joy! Helps us find “beauty for ashes” because definitely not everything is hunkey dorey all the time around here. I’m taking the coolest class right now that I really need to do a post on soon. It’s all about the 12-steps for Alchololics Anonymous and how inspired those are to help in so many aspects of life, bringing so much happiness in the long-run.

      Sorry, maybe you wanted more of a simple answer, but I just feel so strongly about all this. I wish you all the joy and happiness in life, and love that you are SEEKING. Actively looking is going to get you where you want to be!

      Love, Shawni

      1. Thank you so much, Shawni – I really appreciate you taking the time to write so openly and thoughtfully on a day when I could really use the words of encouragement. xo

  2. Hi Shawni,
    Thank you for all the beautiful autumn pix.

    For me, you can never post too many autumn pix.

    I love this time of year, it’s my favourite & I thank Heavenly Father every day for this wonderful earth.

  3. Love the autumn pictures! Here along the coast in South Carolina we don’t get the really pretty fall colors, so I love when others share.

  4. This is the most beautiful blog, photographically speaking, you’ve ever posted. Thanks for sharing the emotion behind that connection you experienced. I often feel that way on my bike rides.

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