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)

Oscars 3rd month and our summer:)

Oscar is just the sweetest little thing (and his name is finally growing on me...yay!! I was SO worried that it never would, ha ha)
He is super happy, he just smiles at anyone and everyone who looks his way...its adorable. I really just can`t get enough of him...I love just cuddling and holding him all the time. I never felt that way about our other boys, just because they were so difficult that you had to hold them all the time, and ever when you held them, they would still cry their little eyes was sad. 
Oscar had a little bit of a hiccup this week in that his weight dropped a bunch, putting him on the `failure to thrive` side of kinda freaked me out for a few days. 
Luckily, through an awesome pediatrician and good advice from our Breastfeeding doctor, we`ve been able to get his acid reflux (puking) a little more under control through a new drug and more frequent (shorter) feeds. This week has been WAY better....and we got the results back from some other tests, and he is A-Okay. I am a much happier (and less worried) mama this week. 
In other Oscar news, he sleeps much better than the other boys ever did (even at age 2), so that`s fantastic!! He still isn`t awesome, but I`ll take what I can get, I was expecting much worse all around. 
He is super-duper strong, always holding up his neck and head and trying to sit up anytime we lay him down. He has limited tummy time, only because it makes his spitting up so much worse...but when he does, he just lifts his whole upper torse right off the ground. 
We sure love having him as a partof our`s just fantastic:)
With Oscar being so much more easy-going than I had planned, we`ve been able to get out a LOT this summer. 

Here are some highlights:
-picking berries (2x so far) at Broxburn, and make Strawberry-Chia jam (YUM!!)
-Hanging out at the Raymond pool and eating hawaain shaved ice (double YUM!!)
-Swimming at the Stirling pool, and having Roo jump off the diving board with no lifejacket!
-Going out to Wally`s beach for the first time ever, it is awesome out there!! And thanks to THE bestest EVER awesome nieghbors that we have, we also went boating and tubing. 
-Hanging out with our whole family in Waterton for the day
-Going on an extended famly vacation to was SO nice out there
-Playing on several new playgrounds
-Going to several farmers markets and eating delcious produce afterwards!
-Going out to the taber indoor pool 2x when it was cloudy is my kids FAVE pool ever
-Going to spray parks (especially Coaldale, we`ve loved that one this year)
-Playing in our own backyard playground and mini-pool...we love our yard:)

We`re all super sad over here that the hot weather we`ll be leaving us soon...but also happy that we don`t start school next week like the rest of you! ha ha...more on that later;)

I just LOVE this photo, and love that we got to spend SO much time with our family this summer:

(Oscars baby blessing day, thus ashur`s broken arm)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Our life

I haven't posted in a I'll do a quick update in our litle growing fanily:
-Oscar (Oscy) is 12 weeks old today. He is still a fantastic baby and he sleeps so well. He spends most of his day sleeping, or puking...we still haven't gotten the acid reflux under control too well. He is getting better at sleeping at night, but still wakes pretty often...often enough to make me exhausted most days. I'm getting more used to the lack of sleep, but I do find that I'm overly grumpy and impatient a lot more often than in the past. I'm working on that. 
-Roo is growing so much! He says the funniest things all day long, I feel like he could easily be a little reality tv show star becauase of his little attitude and funny behvior. He also loves getting his picture taken, which is great...if only his brother felt the same way, ha ha. He is super smart and has a great little memory...much better than ours, which makes life interesting sometimes. 
-"A" is growing a ton too, and tans SO well...even with copius amounts of sunscreen...he is crazy dark. He does NOT like getting his picture taken, at all, which is shown through the lack of pictures of him on instagram and facebook, ha ha. He is such a great older brother....he tries vey hard to be obedient and make me happy, and he is constantly helpful. I sure love him. 
-My hubby is just working away, almost finished his long year-and-a-half of training at his job, and will officially be starting his position in October of this year. We're both happy with that, although we both itch to move somewhere else...I know it'll happen one day. We love it here, but everytime we go on vacation we realize how beautiful other places are, and we just really would like to experience other areas.
-I'm down 33 lbs and counting!! I've started eating crazy healthy, which is unusual for me. It all started with going off of dairy, due to problems with eating it and Oscar getting sick. When I started to read ingredients on all the things I was eating, I started just choosing healtheir options...mostly just "real" food, and less processed junk. I haven't started excersing too much yet, although on vacation last week I did start aqua-fit, which was nice. I'm consdiering homeschooling the boys this fall, so I'll spend a lot of time over the new few weeks, looking into that. 
We just back from an aweosme vactaion in beauitful Fairmont, was lovely:)
Here are some shots:
Oscar chillin while we take a pit stop at a gas station

Crazy long line-up on our way home that set us back several hours

Me at the natural hot stprings was so warm

Ashur and I standing in a natural hot pool

Roo and I in front of the waterfall

Oh, and I had a birthday:) My friends decorated my house

JD toted little Oscy around on every hike we went on

I feel so blessed to have such a great little family...I love all my boys:)