Thursday, September 6, 2012


I always blab on and on about how much I love change.

I talk up this mumbo-jumbo about how much it makes you grow and what a grand adventure it is. Oh, how I glorify it in my mind.

But lately I have realized that I only like certain types of change.  I like big change.  The things that force me and my family completely out of our comfort zone.  That's why I want to live for a while in a foreign country...just for a little while at least (see this post).  That's the kind of change I pine away for.

For Chirstmas last year Dave gave me the gift I have wanted for years:

It was a card that outlined how he had worked it out for us to move to China for six months.

Yes, I dare say he looks a tad bit uneasy about that gift I'm glowing about, but really, he was pretty excited too.

But things changed.  We couldn't for the life of us make the final details fall into place.  And we had just bought a house.

So instead of moving to China for a while, we are moving to an adjacent neighborhood (when we finally get that thing remodeled which is s-l-o-w...more on that later).

In the process of getting ready to move so close yet so far away I have come to grips with the fact that for me, the smaller-scale, less grandiose changes are harder than the big ones.

I think it's because I'm so darn sentimental.

Because when that small change comes, my heart stops in it's tracks. It's then, on the brink of that change jumping into reality that I realize maybe curling up in a ball in the corner would actually be better than stepping out into the dark and taking that new plunge into the immediate unknown.

I know, I know, "it's across one major street for pete's sake!"  But I think the thought of moving makes you realize how blessed you've been for as long as you've been there.  It makes you wonder if you've taken what you had for granted.

I'm so grateful for where we live.  Sure, Dave and I have prayed and talked about the move til we're blue in the face, and we have come to the conclusion that it is what's right for our family at this point in life.  We already know so many people over there who we adore and it will be so nice to see them more often and to meet so many new people.  Plus, we couldn't ask for better new neighbors (they're the ones we went to India with).

But that doesn't mean leaving what is so comfortable and good here in this neighborhood is easy.

You see, at the beginning of the school year (a month ago) we changed wards (a ward is a group of people in the same geographic location who go to church at the same time).  We figured since our kids will be "growing up" in the new house they may as well get to know everyone over there.

But man alive, it's a weird juxtaposition because although we know our new ward and area is going to be awesome, I think what's hard is leaving a neighborhood and ward full of people you adore who have essentially helped raise your children for ten years.  Do they realize how grateful we are?  Did we serve them enough?  Will we stay in touch the way we want to?  What about the neighbors who are like siblings to my children?  Will we ever see them any more if they have to cross a busy street to get to our house? Do those empty-nester couples who we look up to so much ever know how much they have influenced us for good?  Do those Young Women I got to work with realize how much they have changed my life for the better?  Do they know about that hollow spot in my heart that misses them so much?

See?  I'm way too sentimental.  I blame my Dad for that :)

My initial grand visions of how great change is are always fully realized in the end.  Change helps you grow.  I can always look back on change and nod in acceptance that yes, "change" was good. "Change" changed us for the better.

But we need to get going on this house and rip off the band-aid.

Luckily they gave Dave and me new callings to help us get going in our new ward.  Dave is now working with the Young Men (16-18 year olds) which he is so excited about and which he will rock at.  And I have the last calling I would ever, ever expect:

Junior Primary Chorister.

I'm serious about that.  When the guy asked if I would do it I almost fell off my chair before I reminded him I have no musical abilities whatsoever and those kids (ages 4-8...lots and lots of them) may be bored to tears with me standing in front of them (especially since the last chorister was totally animated and in-the-zone).

But you know what?  I'm excited.  Because I'm going to embrace change and let it change me for the better.

Who knows, maybe it'll help change those kids in some small way as well :)

So, my realization in all this talk is this:  Sometimes the smaller-seeming changes ARE the big changes.  If I wait to be jolted into shape for some big, grandiose change to come my way, I may be waiting for a long time.  Even something as small as changing around a routine or starting a new good habit are enough change to make a difference.

Although it is still true in some ways I'd rather pack my bags and move us all to China than move across the street, I'm realizing this change is actually bigger than I thought it would be.  I can feel the growing already as we all get pushed further from our comfort zones.

And that means I think I'm going to like it after all.

(Just as long as we can soak in every remaining second of this house we adore and thank people and love people here enough before we leave....and stay in touch with them forever and ever:)


  1. You are so funny, I love that you are so cultured. I would die if I had to live in China for 6 months!

  2. Oh. My. Wordy. See, parallel lives! We just moved 4 miles away just a month ago and I was super excited about it. Turns out, it's been harder than I thought it'd be, so thanks for this post! It's very odd to not be able to go back to our 'old' house. I haven't even brought myself to drive by it yet! So so many memories there and I had a few good breakdowns before we finally left for good. Oh, and here in our new ward, I was asked to serve as the ward chorister with NO musical abilities as well! Turns out, they all thought I had a background in no! ;) So needless to say that didn't happen. Thanks for the reminder to have a positive outlook. I thoroughly enjoy and benefit from your posts. You've helped me in so many ways.

  3. Oh my goodness, I completely know how you feel about being a primary chorister. We just moved out to the middle of nowhere (aka Roosevelt, UT) and I was called to be the Primary Chorister for junior and senior primary, as well as the two nurseries. It has been such a challenge, but over the last two months, I have really come to love it. CHANGE is good!! It just takes time to adjust!

  4. You'll do great! Kids will eat up that big smile of yours :)

  5. We just moved from TX to NJ. I hate change! I'm not good at it. But I know it is good for me. I'm going to reread this post when I feel like curling up in a ball. :) THanks~

    1. I know ppl in NJ/DE if you need friends!! Feel free to email me, I'll connect you to them.

  6. i am used to change in the moving sense. I moved from UK ( where is was born and raised), to a city in Alberta, Canada, i lived there 10 years, and then my husband was offered a new job in the middle of NOWHERE!! seriously, it's a tiny village of 300 people, i have to travel 30 mins to get groceries, and a major city is 1.5hrs away.. talk about culture shock, going from a HUGE city in England, to a village and u cant even buy gas there!.. however, you jsut make it work!! you will love your new place, i can't wait for updates!

  7. I also welcome change. We have moved around quite a bit and I welcome the "challenge" of getting to know people. Everywhere we have lived I have made wonderful friends, been surrounded by great Church members/leaders who love me, teach me, and help me grow. I have taken a piece of each of them with me as I go and I am better today because of them. BTW: I was called as the Primary Chorister a few years ago. With my lack of musical ability, I had your same reaction. But, it has been one of my favorite callings. It's more about being creative (which you are) and having the Spirit to teach them these beautiful songs. You will be fabulous.

  8. Primary Music Leader is my favorite calling. Here are some tips I give to music leaders in training meetings: talk less and sing more, use pictures (not word strips) for Jr. Primary (most can't read yet), use lots of hand actions and physical movement to help them learn the songs, don't worry about the actual "directing" as the kids don't know how to follow the beat pattern of your hands anyway.

  9. You'll do a great job as the primary chorister. I recently had the same calling and loved it (even though I lack musical ability)!

  10. Primary music is my favorite calling too, and I'm no musician. But I do have a deep love for primary music--I consider it the gospel doctrine of primary. The sharing time lessons will come and go, but many of them will remember these songs and the related principles forever.

    I always felt like the most valuable visual aid I had was myself and my enthusiasm. I expected the kids to behave but we also had lots of fun together. I did lots of signs, esp with the younger kids because they do so much better when they get to move something while they're singing.

    You're going to be great!

  11. Change is always good and what makes the memories we cherish in future years good luck with the move

  12. I can't wait to come spy on you while you lead those kids! You will be so great! I can relate to those same feelings you are feeling just having done that a few years ago. You are leaving a great place! It will still be a part of your life though. You will always have those relationships and with time you feel the same in your new home. I never wanted to move because my family moved so much as a kid. I wanted to stay in the same house for ever and and raise all my kids there for years and years. I have realized what change has done for me now and I am grateful I have been able to give that to my kids to help them stretch a little bit more.

  13. Oh Shawni! That is the best calling EVER!! You will come to love it so much that by the time it is over you will think it is the best calling in the whole church. Good luck. Just love the kids with all your heart and all will be well!

  14. I am very much like you! I long for big amazing moves to Spain but am very sentimental about the everyday. Yep, chorister is the best!

  15. You and the oldest 3? lived on the east coast, China, and now 2 different homes in AZ. 4 places in 12 years. That is a lot of moving around. And the traveling. England and India this year? What are you searching for? Is it the process of moving or the state of change that is your want?

  16. Junior primary chorister is one place where you will have the chance to teach the gospel through a different 'medium'. Its not about props or special games or fancy 'stuff'. Its about asking Heavenly FAther each week "what message" he wants His children to learn and understand, and then to see that the 'method' for teaching that message will follow. And it will often be simple. And it will take you out of your comfort zone, and you will come to LOVE IT.

  17. Your attitude on change has helped me soooo much over the past year as we've moved our little family of 3 kids to Argentina for two years. This was a teensy bit hard for me (ok, major hard), but I always find myself saying "Life is long," & "Broaden My Horizens." Thank YOU Shawni!

  18. Oh my word! You now have the best calling the church! I know you will fill the same way in no time! I totally get your feelings, as having moved more than stayed still in our married life....and love that you share your real feelings with us all! you are such a great example...thanks so much!!

  19. I NEVER EVER wanted to be Primary Chorister, but then I got called to be just that, for both Jr. and Senior. It was turned out to be my favorite calling EVER. I had done it for 3 years when I was released, and I still miss it.

    Here's the #1 thing I learned: Primary Choristers teach the gospel first, and music second. Music is the just the vehicle--the gospel is the real deal. So I made sure that I always explained the words so that the children understood what they were singing.

    #2? You don't need fluff. The most fun times we had were when I went in armed with the words of the song and chalk. The children LOVED to "draw the song" on the chalkboard, and they learned it well.

    Have fun!!! You'll love it, I know!

  20. Accepting or dare I say searching for change can be a good thing! Change in our lives opens us to so many awesome opportunities. As you well know! I myself have moved to Africa on three different occasions. Twice with our children, and once after they were grown. Wouldn't trade it for anything. You'll do great in any area to which you are called. It's so good to read the comments of your readers. You are changing the world from right where you are.

  21. I am completely the same way in being too sentimental about everything! Thanks for sharing your thoughts...

    Primary Chorister is the BEST calling in the church. Having been there for nearly six years, I'll really miss it when they decide to let me go. Nothing like being the "singing lady" for the most wonderful people in the world!

  22. It is awesome that you love change.. and great for your children to elarn new ways and adapt. Come to Australia!

  23. HA! I just got called as primary chorister too. I'm so out of my comfort zone up there. Even though it's just kids and I know they really don't care, I still do not like it at all. AT ALL! But today a sweet woman hugged me after I had stood up there and awkwardly led music (seriously I have no rhythm) and told me how impressed she was that even though I really did not want to do this, I would do what the Lord asks of me. I laughed and told her that once I learn to do it without complaining that would be the real accomplishment. Good luck to us both! You will be amazing I know it.

  24. Wow, I haven't read your blog in awhile and I forgot what I was missing.

    So, is China out? I have been asking my husband to find an opportunity for us to live in a foreign country before our kids hit high school. Oldest is in 5th grade, so we'll see if that happens, or if it's just better for the family to stay put.

    Also, Jr. Primary Chorister is the best calling ever! And you don't need any musical ability, just TEACHING ability. Those kids don't care whether you can carry a tune, but what you can teach them about Christ through the primary songs. I'm sure you'll do fabulous.

    I just joined Power of Moms. I think I'm going to try a retreat now that the final baby is almost weaned. It sounds amazing.

  25. Thanks so much for this post! Just what I am needing with getting ready to make some serious changes (more forced though have to buy a new car cause u totaled ours & move house cause our landlords are moving back in) like you though I am so grateful for the time I have had in our home & neighborhood & I Can honestly Say I've been grateful everyday we have lived here. Oh & Primary music leader is the BEST CALLING EVER! So much fun! You'll love it! Iwas just called a few months back for both jnr. & snr. The kids are amazing sponges & learning those songs is going to help them so much throughout their lives!

  26. Haha I mean I totaled our car. Definitely not blaming someone on the other side of the world 4 that! I always mess up when I'm using blogger on my iPhone.


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