Sunday, December 22, 2013

Our big date...

A lot of people have been asking us what happened to us this weekend, and it was just too long for a FB here it is. 
We do dates every weekn, usually on Friday. We had a date planned this Friday, and it was just one of those days where nothing was going right. 
I planned on getting a lot done before our date, but that afternoon Oscar had a choking episode for several minutes. He'd breath for a second or two, then start choking again. This went on and off for about 5 or so minutes. 
I've never been so close to calling an ambulance before, but luckily, he stopped and seemd fine afterwards. My friend came over op check on him also, after I called her all frantic and worried. By the time she even got here he calmed down, and was back to his normal happy self. He nursed well, and napped well, and I just chalked it up to him choking on spit up or a little fuzz ball or something. 
That threw my evening off, because I wasn't ready for my date when JD got home from work, and we needed to meet up with our sitter downtown, and drop Oscar off at a friends house. We also forgot our cell phone, and just about missed meeting up with our sitter.
We never leave him while we go out, but we thought we'd give it a try, and I thought it'd be a nice break for JD and I. 
We went to a restaurant that I had picked out, that I knew JD had been wanting to go to. Once we got there, we were dissapointed to find out that the "hot pots" which we were going to order, needed 4-hr notice now, unlike the last time we had gone, years earlier. 
We decided to leave that restaurant and head to another one. We picked out our food and ordered. As the waitress was walking away we got a phone call. It was the mother of the family that was watching him, and she was in a frenzy because Oscar had been choking for her also, and she had to tip him upside down and rub his sounded exactly like what had happened to me earlier. 
We drove to her house as quickly as possible, hoping that he would have stopped choking, and that they wouldn't have needed to call an ambulance. Luckily, he was calmed down and happy as a clam when we showed up. 
We drove him straight to the hospital. I sat in the ER waiting room, and he made a few pre-choking sounds, but never fully started abn episode again. 
We got our food to go, and so we ate in the waiting room. Oscar seemd totally fine by this time, just really happy and chatty. 
We got in to see a doctor, who ordered some x-rays. These were pretty tricky, because they had to strap him in this little contraption to x-ray his chest. He screamed a lot at that one, poor guy. 
This isn't him, but I found a picture of the contraption:
deceptively calm baby

We waited again for the doctor to look at our x-rays. It showed that his epiglottis was inflamed, which could be from epiglottitis, swelling from his acid reflux, or irritation from something he may have swallowed. No foreign object showed up in the x-ray, however plastic objects would not show up on it anyways. 
The doctor ordered another picture of his epliglottis, just to double check, and it showed the same thing. 
Between this, my version of his choking episodes, and the pre-choking sounds he was continuing to make at the hospital, the doctor worried that there was more going on. 
He did say that he felt like Oscar was probably fine, but that there was no way to tell without further tests, and he was worried enough about it that he felt more tests should be ordered. 
This is where it got tricky though. He wanted a scope to check out his epliglottis. Normally these are done easily in the ER, but due to his age, they needed to sedate him. 
The Dr. was hoping that we'd be able to drift him to sleep for just a minute or two, do the scope, and then quickly wake him up again. 
The anesthesiologist didn't feel comfortable doing this on his own, which is what my doctor had wanted. He would have done it if Oscar was 1 yr or older, but didn't want to do it on an infant. Our next plan was to get an ENT in there with him to do the scope. There is only one ENT in southern alberta. She wasn't on call, and was on holidays for a couple of weeks, so this wasn't an option. 
The doctor really felt more comfortable doing the scope, and didn't feel like we should be sent home without one. He called an ENT in Calgary, and they felt the same way. 
So, we needed to get up there to the Calgary Childrens hospital. Our doctor wanted it done as soon as possible, and was worried about him being driven by us or in an ambulance, in case he had another episode. 
They arranged for a Pediatric NICU unit to fly down from calgary and take him back there in a small airplane, similar to STARS called Fixed WINGS
JD and I were told that we could both fit on the plane, but we needed a way to get back, so he left right away so that he could meet us at the hospital. 
By now we had been at the hospital from around 7:00 or so, until 12:30. JD grabbed some supplies and left right away. 
Oscar got put on IV antibiotics, in case there was some sort of infection in his throat. This was traumatizing, as it took several attempts for them to get it in. They pushed and twisted, and looked for new veins...and eventually were able to get one in. He screamed the entire time, and I was a mess also, as I know how painful IVs are. 
I nursed him while we waited for te team to arrive, and was instructed to stope nursing him just before midnight, so he would have an empty stomach for him to be sedated. 
We waited a few hours, and they showed up sometime around 2. I signed some papers, and Oscar chatted happily. They probably don't transport such calm and happy babies on a regular basis. 
As we chatted they told me that there was absolutely no way to take me on the plane with them. There wasn't any extra seats, because it was such a small plane. 
I was devestated because JD had already left, and left me with the cell phone, so I had no way of getting ahold of him. 
The nurses and doctors in the ER felt awful, because they had all thought that I would be able to go with him. 
They paid for a taxi ride for me to get home, and I got home shortly after 2.Or babysitter for the other boys had offered to stay the night. He was sleeping and had the front and back door locked, so it took eme w lot of calling his cell and knocking on windows to wake him up and let me in. I grabbed my things and quickly left in the car. 
It was really difficult driving, just because it was so long and I was so tired. Thankfully I made it in pretty good time, and didn't crash! ha ha
I arrived at the hospital sometime around 4:30 or 5:00. Luckily JD had gotten there before Oscar arrived, so Oscar didn't have to spend a lot of time without one of us. 
While we waited for the ENT to come by, which we were told would be around 8, we weren't aloud to feed him at all. I typically don't get even 3 hours through the night without him nursing, so he was not happy about being so hungry. We took turns rocking him while he half-cried and half-slept. 
I was able to pump while I was there also, which was nice. 
We were in an ER room the whole time also, so it wasn't super comfortable. 
At around 9 the ENT showed up and ordered more x-rays in that contraption, and an extra x-ray where they push on his diaphragm to knock the wind out of him beforehand. 
They were awful, and I was just a mess by this point. I hadn't slept at all, and I was SO over starving my poor child. 
This ENT was also comfortable with doing a scope while he was awake. So he did that also. He said that the espohagus looked clear and the epiglottis looked fine, just slightly red, probably from his reflux. He said that most reglaur doctors wouldn\t know what to look for in an epliglottis x-ray, but apparently the x-ray was pretty normal for a child his age (side note: they seriously need to get more digitized in the medical arena...if doctors could just get x-rays on ipads, we probably wouldn't have ended up in Calgary to begin with). 
We thought after that we'd be free and clear, but our ENT was just a resident, and had to wait a few hours for the attending to come and see for himself. So, 2 more scopes and 2 hours later, we were finally cleared. 
We still don't know what caused his episodes, or if it was just some object that he passed throughout his choking. The doctors felt quite certain that he was clear, but that they wouldn't know for sure without putting him under and checking his lungs. They didn't want to do that, because its full surgery, and they didn't want to risk putting him under, when they felt confident with their diagnosis. They said to watch out for either a fever or pneumonia, as that could be from some foreign object that they missed in his lungs. 
We were happy to hear this as we just wanted to be at home, and over with this horrible night (p.s. parking is super pricey up there!). 
Finally, after 12 hours, I got to feed my starving, crying, cranky baby....I felt SO bad not being able to all night. Every time he saw me even sit down in a chair, or hold him, he'd start getting happy thinking that I was going to feed him, and then freak out when he found out I wasn't. It was horrible. 
Luckily, Matt and Katie were up in Calgary on there was down here, so they drove one of our vehicles, and JD and I took turns driving the van with Oscar, because we still hadn't slept. 
Now that were home, he hasn't choked again, and hasn't been making the pre-choking noises much either. 
He does seem to have contracted a cold of some sort, he's just really sneezy, cough-y and mucous-y. Were hoping that its just from teething, or maybe irritation from the scopes that he had of his throat, but who knows. Were just keeping a really good eye on him, and are super glad that we were able to come home so easily, and that nothing worse happened. 
I feel awful for all those families that are stuck in the hospital over Christmas, so sad:( I have a greater appreciation of how scary it is to have things happen to your children...maybe, I won't have any more kids?! ha ha...
Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers...and especially to our awesome babysitter and his amazing family, who was SO helpful throughout this whole ordeal. 
OH, and Merry Christmas!! :)

Here's some photos from the night:

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Sept-October Homeschool fun...

Here are a few of the awesome things that we'be been up to in our homeschool the last couple of months:

Our Homeschool Calendar

Our Clock and weather 

Scripture Study time

One of our fave books...Science Rocks....with great home-based experiements. We've learned about matter and weights, rocks and minerals, done color mixing, made little volcano explosions and grown home-made crystals.

Some more textbooks, one with all 4 subjects, and a reading book that we love. We do a reading lesson each day, and use the other book to supplement our lessons.

New homeschool cabinets, filled with our books, worksheets and crafts

Here are some of the worksheets we worked on: 


A few shots from our first day:

Some fun exercise activities we've done:


Track and Field: 

Outdoor Recess time....although with the cold weather now, we are doing a lot more inside, and less outside....can't wait for summer:)

Lots of Yoga!! :)

And more yoga
And more fun: 

Absorption experiment the first week

Collecting bugs 

Drawing bugs

Painting flowers

Some other fun things we've been up to are: 
-Diving club
-Swiming lessons for Roo
-Swimming at the U of L
-Swimming with the kids at the pool
- Futsall (indoor soccer)
-Clay Handbuilding (so fun! at the new CASA building)
-finding new cool ipad apps
-spending a lot of time at the library

Monday, October 21, 2013

Homeschooling set-up

I thought I'd blog a bit about what we do during homeschool and how we set up our days, activities and more.We do homeschool in the mornings mon-wed, from 9-11:30, and in the afternoons on thursday from 1-3. We take every Friday off, but will start to do field trips on that day also. 

This is how our days are set up...
Every day from Monday-Thursday includes these:
Reading, Writing, Math and Devotional (scripture stories and discussion).

For Reading, we use a book called "Teach your child to read in 100 simple lessons"(an amazon buy that a friend of mine told me about). The boys really love it. Since 'A' is already pretty good at reading, we usually do a couple lessons a day. Sometimes Roo is up for more than 1 lesson a day, but it just depends on the day. We also have solo reading time. While I'm going over the daily reading lesson with one of them, the other one gets to pick out books that they want to look at/read on their own. 

For Writing we do different things each day. We have a few white-board writing books that they can practice their alphabet with. During our reading lessons, there is always a "sounds writing" portion that they do daily also. If we are learning about a certain concept, subject or theme, I'll have them write out words that relate to it. We also incorporate an LDS pre-school curriculum called "Walk Beside Me" that I found on THIS website. Every week is a different letter, and comes with free printable worksheets that we do. During writing, Roo will work on wiriting the letter of that week from the curriculum, while 'A' and I work on more difficult words. Sometimes we'll even write a little story, or work on a previously started research project. 

For Math we bought a few things. We have a multiplication chart, a little push-button game for addition and subtraction, and a few books. One  book is all math lessons, specifically for grade 1 "Math Smart Level 1". The other book is called 'The complete Canadian Curriculum grade 1". I'll add extra little math lessons, like counting by 2s, 5s and 10s, or doing math with objects or outside. Roo does printables from the pre-school curriculum while we work on math lessons, unless its a lesson he finds interesting. 

For Devotional we read a verse of scripture, read aloud by 'A'. Then I read them a scripture story from 'Book of Mormon Stories" and discuss it with them if they have questions. We go over the "Walk beside me" letter of the week. For example, this week is the letter "F" for "Families are Forever". It inclues a scripture, a song and a little story or description. 

Monday's extra subjects include: Yoga, Music and Science. 

Yoga is a 15-minute episode found on you-tube, we play it on the ipad and in the living-room for the space. We use the "Cosmic Kids Yoga" program, and the kids seriously LOVE it! It's usually their favorite time of the day. The episodes are super great and really kid-friendly. 

Music is just a random lesson taught by me. Sometimes it will be music and movement, or rhythm or a lesson we find on youtube about something. I also find lessons through a few other books I got given. We've learned about instruments and their different groupings. We've learned about note-types and patterns. 

Science is sometimes lessons from the books that we have. We have several textbooks and other fun books on science. The boys absolutely fave thing to do is science experiments. They usually come from the book "Science Rocks". We LOVE that book. They are experiments you can do at home usually, and a lessons about each one. 

Monday afternoons are free time, we don't have any extra activities on Monday. 

Tuesday's extra subjects are: Piano, Social and Outdoor Fun.

For Piano, I bought the whole beginners series of piano books, and I am starting to teach them it this week. It includes theory, a lesson and an activioty book, and also comes with a CD to help.

For Social, we have lessons from a few of our textbooks. We have an kids atlas book, a children's encylopedia, a book with social/history lesson in it, and a section in our "Complete Canadian Curriculum" book on Social Studies. Occassionaly, I plan on switching this up with Health also. My school board has some online curriculum lessons for this, and I have lessons on the body and anatomy and what not in other texbooks as well. 

For Outdoor Fun, it is sometimes as easy as playing outdoors with our toys or the playhouse and swings. I have made scavenger hunts and treasure hunts too. It will be a litte more tricky in the wintertime, but for now, its still warm anough to go to playgrounds also. 

Tuesday afternoons are spent at the U of L. The activities change every 5 weeks. So far we have only done Track and Field, which 'A' totally loves and does well in. We are starting swimming lessons next week, and maybe soccer or Judo. 

Wednesday's extra subjects are: ipad apps, artwork or research. 
I usually just pick one of these 3, as we spend more time on the core subjects because Roo is gone. We haven't downloaded a ton of ipad apps yet, but we have found a few that we really like. If anyone has any that are awesome, let me know!
For Art, I have a whole bucket full of crafts and supplies, so we usually just do something random. The kids like to do whatever they want, so I set out a few supplies, or some paint or something, and they choose what they want to do with it. We'll probably do a more set art project once a month. Halloween themed for this month, and probably something around Remembrance Day next month. 

We learn how to research via the internet, books we have, and books at the library. Some days we head to the librart for a few hours and research a topic, and other days we stay at home and research a topic here. I let the kids pick what subject they want to learn about. 

(Roo does preschool this morning, so we have a little more one on one time)

Thursday is a catch-up day where we just finish anything we need to in the afternoon. Every Thursday morning we go to open swim at the pool, and Roo has swimming lessons. It worked out great too, because he's the only one in his class! Once a month we try and go to a program called "Big Chef, Little Chef" at the Chinook Country Kitchen, where the kids get to do their own baking. 

Friday we have a free day. There are 2 stay and play programs at family centers close that we go to occassionally. There is a lego building program in the afternoons, and a library program in the afternoons also. We hope to start doing more field trips also, as they coordinate with what we are learning that week. The boys hope to do tours of the police station, the new fire hall and City Hall. 
Starting in a week or so, 'A' will be doing a clay handbuilding class at the new Art Center. He's pretty excited about that. 

That's our homeschooling routine in a nut-shell, and we love it!! 
I'll try and post each month some pictures of fun things that we are doing:)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Why am I choosing to homeschool? Because it's awesome!!

So, I may have some weird views on things(just look at all the heated convos that happen on FB! ha ha)...and by weird, I mean against the norm, or controversial or what not. 

Homeschooling for me is just such an awesome thing, that I don't see how it could even be controversial anymore, and I think that a lot of people are going more that way, than ever before.

I've been wanting to write for a while now on why I decided to start homeschooling the boys...its just that I've been too busy actually homeschooling them to do it! ha ha.

I'm not quite sure how people keep up with awesome up-to-date homeschooling blogs, and still have time to do everything seems impossible.
(p.s. I like this blog for its LDS pre-k curriculum) are a few of the reasons why I decided to take the plunge into the fantastic world of homeschooling:

-Over in Finland (and maybe Sweden too?) they have an entirely different way of schooling. Kids don't start until they are 7 or 8....they never give out homework, or have unit exams. Its much more about learning in an individualized way, and suiting your learning to meet your inidvidual needs. They are never inside doing a project for more than 45 minutes...they have a LOT of active and creative time. It's pretty much the exact opposite of the way people are schooled in China, where te have intesnse homework and long hours.
And guess what, it works!! From all of the articles I've read they are actually beating the US and China at any comparisons in education that have been done.

-I've read a lot about the "Attachment Theory" by Gordon Neufeld ("Hold on to Your Kids")...its not what it sounds like (being attached at the hip to your cbild at all times). Its more about your children having a healthy bond with you, so they can function in the world properly. This way they won't be peer-oriented (having their primary attachment be their peers, in which they learn social cues and mirror their behavior after their friends instead of after reliable and responsible adults).
In this book he talks a lot about seperation and what not, and that until your child is around 7 or 8 that you need to be helping them not feel seperation anxiety when they are away from you. You do this through bridging, and helping them gain attachments with other cargeviers or teachers. 

One way around this though, is just keeping them with you longer...he doesn't ever specifically give that as an option, as he presumes that children will all be away from their parents due to work outside of the home, or due to school. I think its a very viable option though, id you have the midspace, time and desire to just gives your children that extra few years to help strengthen their primary attachment with you.

-Another reason, is that I don't think 'A' is ready for all day school, nor should he be...I think kids are altogether too young to be leaving their parents for so long, with little to contact through the school day. I noticed that 'A' would get cranky often if he had been in 1/2 day classes for a while regularily...there were several days that he wanted to stay home just to hang out with Roo and I. I honestly can't imagine him being gone all day long everyday, I don't think that he, or I, would be ready for it at this stage.

-As most people know, I'm pretty religious, and I like bringing scripture stories into everyday learning, its great:)

-My kids love extra-curricular activities, and I love that they love I always encourage their participation in things they really enjoy. I found, that even at this young age, that we were consistently busy in the evevning, running back and forth to activities and what not. I like having relaxing evenings, where we can spend more time together as a family, but I also love these activities. Through the set-up that I have with homeschool, I have my kids enrolled in activties throughout the day. There is only one activity per week that we couldn't plan during the day, but besides that we have all of our evenings free. I love it! By the time my hubby gets off of work, we can all have dinner and just relax for the evening. It has been one of the greatest changes that homeschool has brought.

-I want my kids to enjoy learning. I know that there are SUPER great teachers out there (as witnessed by A's kindergarten year, his teacher was my FAVE!! Like seriously, we love you Carly! ha ha). 
I think that if our kids were always to have the oppurtunity to have fantastic teachers that love learning, and instill that in kids, that they would love learning. This probably won't always be the case, but I love that I can instill that in them for now.

-As far as  negative social factors, as in,people thinking that homeschooled children may not get acquire proper social skills and behaviors...that's completey irrelevant. When people think of homeschooling they may think of familes that keep their children all at home, with little to no peer interaction, or think of strange kids they met that were homeschooled. well, for one, strange kids are everywhere, ha ha...and for two, going through the public school system does not guarantee that your child will learn proper socail skills. 
I also don't think it is much of a factor for my kids (or others who homeschool in this type of way) due to the fact that we have a lot of kids in our neighborhood, church and activities that they socialize with, so I'm not worried about that. I'd prefer that my kids be god friends with eachother anyways, and spend more time increaisng their bond with eachother. during this time that they getthe oppurtunity to stay home.

-This is a great article about a lady discussing her reasons why she is choosing to homeschool, but it is a US article, so it is not as relevant, as our school system is quite a bit different as far as homework and what not goes.

-If you're interested, here is some exatr reading for you:
Specifcally the section under "research"...homeschooled children tend to do better on standardized tests than publicly schooled children.

To those who wonder how long I'm planning on homeschooling for...I have no idea?! ha ha...if all goes well, and we all keep loving it as much as we do now, we may keep doing it...although my originaly plan was only to do it for a year or maybe two. 

Hopefully I can keep up on posting things that we do, and ideas that we have, for others that are interested in homeschooling. Until then, if you ever have any questions, feel free to contact  me! :)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

My talk: Peace in the Home

I just want to preface this talk by explaining something. In our church, instead of having a preacher or pastor give a sermon each week, members of the congragation get asked to give short talks on specific topics. This was the topic I was given, and I wanted to post it for a few people who requested copies, and for my family members who couldn`t attend. Anyone`s welcome to read it:)

                              Peace in the home
I have broken down this topic into 3 sub-sections that I think will help us mre fully understand how to gain peace in our homes:
-Striving for peace in our family relationships
-Inviting peace into our house
-Inner peace

1) Point number one, striving for peace in our family relationships.
One of the more difficult things I’ve experienced is trying to be calm, patient and at peace with my children in every situation, although I know it is really important.
I always try to read inspiring blog posts, articles and books on parenting, to help encourage me to be a better parent, and remind me of what I need to be doing. One of my favorite church books on this topic is “What the scriptures teach about raising a child” by Micheal S. Wilcox.
This next bit is from his book: “May you have the comfort as you experience all the frustrations, apprehensions and anxieties, as well as the elations, delights and joys of being a mother or a father-that the savior lovingly spoke of your calling:

 36 And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them,
 37 aWhosoever shall receive one of such bchildren in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me.

Having a child in our home may be the closest thing to having the Father and the Son themselves within our walls.
Confucious said: “the gentleman devotes his efforts to the roots, for once the roots are established the Way will grow therefrom. Being good as a son and obedient as a young man, is perhaps, the root of a mans character.” It is the opportunity of every mother and father to help plant those roots.”
He goes on to talk about our divine apprenticeship as parents, and that we are given a manual to follow as parents, the scriptures. As we study and search the scriptures we will find answers to our questions, as parents, and as I have come to realize in my life and know to be true, we will also have a greater feeling of peace within our homes and in our hearts. It will be easier for us to maintain patience, kindness and a loving attitude when dealing with our children, if we are constantly and consistently searching the scriptures.
Maybe the biggest aspect of parenting is teaching by example. No matter how many times we tell our children not to yell at their siblings, they will never stop if they see us yelling at them or others.
We need to have a calm and patient attitude, even when it’s difficult. And as we strive to be a good example, they will learn most from that. The Savior was the best example we can follow, and as we strive to follow him in our daily lives, our children will follow our example and in turn strengthen their won relationships with their Savior.
Another family relationship that we need to continually strengthen and nurture is with our spouse. When we have a good relationship with them, our children will see that and will learn from it how to behave in future relationships, and know what to look for when choosing their own spouse. 
Mark T. Hales said: “No matter what differences spouses may have or what challenges they may face, when a husband and wife are unified under the basic principles of the gospel their relationship as husband and wife, as well as their relationships with their children, will be improved.”
Carin Lund gave us 4 principles that can be helpful in our marriage:  Expressing gratitude, working selflessly, laughing together, and nurturing faith are important keys to building an eternal marriage.
In an ensign article in june 1996, Judy C. Olsen gave a talk on the invisible heartbreaker, emotional abuse within marriage.
 She says: “Couple number one: “You know,” said David to his wife when she asked about their car’s crumpled fender, “your problem is you like to make a big deal out of nothing.”
Couple number two: “Why did you plan our date for Saturday?” asked Caroline. “That was a stupid thing to do. You know our date night is Friday.”
What do these couples have in common? One of the spouses in each situation is engaging in a form of abuse. Even though no yelling or physical violence occurred, these verbal jabs are typical of a widespread web of behaviors known as emotional abuse.”

President Gordon B. Hinckley, then Second Counselor in the First Presidency, spoke to married couples at a 29 January 1984 fireside broadcast from Temple Square. His counsel, as paraphrased in coverage of the event, was that “to make marriage all it can be, the couple must form a partnership based on the values of the gospel of Christ.” For a marriage to succeed, President Hinckley continued, “each married person should develop respect for his or her partner” as a cornerstone of the marital relationship

Sister Olsen goes on to speak about name-calling, demeaning statements, intimidation, isolation and manipulation. I also want to add not arguing in front of others, especially your children, and not complaining or discussing marital issues with family or friends. When we choose to hold our tongue and not argue, and discuss issues later on, it will also give us time to cool down, and be less emotional when we are discussing important matters.

She also says: “Indeed, Saints who continue to mold their hearts to be Christ-like will find an ever-widening gulf between the light, joy, and peace found in their homes and the darkened home environments of those who are unkind, harsh, and cruel.”

2)Point number 2 is “Inviting peace into our house”
Everything that I thought of in this aspect is pretty straightforward, and most people probably strive to do all these things anyways...but I’ll give a brief overview of things I think can help bring peace into our houses.
-not letting negative media into our homes. M. Russell Ballard gave a whole talk on this entitled “Let our Voices be heard”. His whole talk is great, and I encourage everyone to read it...I will just read a few things he says “Let us speak out and encourage a more uplifting, inspiring, and acceptable media.... The choices we make in media can be symbolic of the choices we make in life. Choosing the trendy, the titillating, the tawdry in the TV programs or movies we watch can cause us to end up, if we’re not careful, choosing the same things in the lives we live.... If we do not make good choices, the media can devastate our families and pull our children away from the narrow gospel path.”
-Elder Bednar spoke on being more diligent and concerned at home. He says: As our sons were growing up, our family did what you have done and what you now do. We had regular family prayer, scripture study, and family home evening.
He goes on to say: “In my office is a beautiful painting of a wheat field. The painting is a vast collection of individual brushstrokes—none of which in isolation is very interesting or impressive. In fact, if you stand close to the canvas, all you can see is a mass of seemingly unrelated and unattractive streaks of yellow and gold and brown paint. However, as you gradually move away from the canvas, all of the individual brushstrokes combine together and produce a magnificent landscape of a wheat field. Many ordinary, individual brushstrokes work together to create a captivating and beautiful painting.
Each family prayer, each episode of family scripture study, and each family home evening is a brushstroke on the canvas of our souls. No one event may appear to be very impressive or memorable. But just as the yellow and gold and brown strokes of paint complement each other and produce an impressive masterpiece, so our consistency in doing seemingly small things can lead to significant spiritual results. “Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great” (D&C 64:33). Consistency is a key principle as we lay the foundation of a great work in our individual lives and as we become more diligent and concerned in our own homes.”

As we strive to have more peace within our home, through these ways, we will feel the influence of the Holy Ghost in our houses, and so will others that enter within it. Our homes will be a haven for not only our children, but also our friends and neighbors. We will do great missionary work just through others feeling the difference between our homes and the outside world.

3) My final point is Inner peace.
This is something that I am constantly working on, gauging how I’m doing, changing things and working some more. It will be a life-long goal to strive to have total peace within myself.
The main things that can increase peace within our own souls, are having consistent and meaningful daily scripture study and prayer. This will strengthen our relationship with our Savior.
 I have been trying to change the way I study through studying by topics, for example, this time I’m reading the Book of Mormon and underlining anything to do with the Spirit/Holy Ghost. Also, I study different topics based off of the new “Come Follow Me” youth sunday school program.
Two great articles I read recently on scripture study and strongly encourage everyone to read are: Henry B. Eyrings “A Discussion on scripture study” and Elder Bednars “A Reservoir of Living water”. They are fantastic, and will really improve the way you study.
We can also increase peace within ourselves through the way we engage with others, striving for kindness and gentleness in not only our actions, but also with all of our thoughts. I heard someone say once that they had never heard their spouse ever speak unkindly of anyone, that is what I strive for, what a great example...I can think of a few people in my life that I know are like that.
In D & C 121: 41-43 it says:
41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;
42 By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—
43 Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved

Expanding on that last verse, sharpness should not be interpreted as being unkind or harsh. I found an article through the religious studies center online at BYU. It says:
“Lehi said: “Ye have murmured because [Nephi] hath been plain unto you. Ye say that he hath used sharpness; ye say that he hath been angry with you; but behold, his sharpness was the sharpness of the power of the word of God, which was in him; and that which ye call anger was the truth”
 Joseph Smith was explicit when he added that we reprove “when moved upon by the Holy Ghost,” which is not present when harshness and anger are used. And the subsequent “increase of love” suggests that love must already be present when the reproving takes place. The Holy Ghost inspires a person to higher degrees of intellectual power and discernment, quickness of understanding, and quickness of perception. These are among the qualities embodied in the word sharpness.
In summary, our reproving with sharpness needs to be done at an appropriate early occasion, and the reproof must come with plainness and discernment—and only when the Holy Ghost so instructs.”

Another characteristic that I am always working on is charity, it is all-encompassing, and is truly what the Savior taught through the scriptures and his sojourn on this earth.

Moroni 7:46-47:

46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—
 47 But acharity is the pure blove of Christ, and it endurethcforever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.

If we strive for charity, everything else will fall into place. As we try to be more like the Savior, our relationship with him will be improved and in turn so will our family relationships. The Spirit will strive with us, and be felt in our home, and we will have inner peace as well.

 27 aPeace I leave with you, my bpeace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be ctroubled, neither let it be afraid.
(John 14:27)