Friday, March 3, 2017

PEACE in our homes

I mentioned in a post way back when that I spoke at this great conference in the beginning of November:
I was honored to be the keynote speaker and loved that I had the opportunity to think about "how to open your door to a Christ-centered home" and find peace in our homes for that long.

A few cute friends came and this what I have to document that night:

Ha!

But I wanted to write about it for a minute here on this sunny Friday in March.  I waited until now because I can't get my act together, but also because it's easy for Christ to be in the center of our lives around the Christmas season.  Even through all the hoopla we can feel that peace.  (I'm going to use Christ-centered and peace kind of synonymously through this post because they are sort of one and the same to me...if we are Christ-centered we have the kind of peace I'm talking about, and if we have peace, it's most likely created by keeping our hearts and our minds Christ-centered).

All those lit-up red and green sparkly remembrances and nativities are packed up and boxed away along with the Christmas carols and the thick feeling in the air helping us remember to serve and to reach out and to #LightTheWorld.

So how do we keep that peace in our homes always?  Not just at Christmas?

I loved this topic because really, if our homes are Christ-centered, we can get through any battle, right?  Not that the battles are going to be any easier, but because we know to whom to look as the source to figure things out.

Sometimes it sure is tough to feel that peace when our day looks like this:

Or when we're slamming doors due to sleep deprivation and the world is blurry and our kids' job charts are empty for the third week in a row and we just cannot seem to keep up with this world that sometimes seems like it's eating us whole.

Oh wait, side-track, maybe that's just me :)

Yes, I need this reminder.

So I talked about the who, what, when, where, why and how questions relating to gathering more peace in our homes.

First the easy ones:

WHAT do we want?
Peace in our homes

WHO do we want it for?
Our families

WHEN do we want it?
Always, right?

WHERE do we want it?
In our homes which leads to our hearts

And then we come to WHY?

We want it because we know, deep down, that we NEED the Holy Ghost.  And we can’t get it if there’s no peace.  Our children can’t feel it if there’s no peace.  They need the Holy Ghost to help them and guide them just as we do, and if they never learn to how it feels, or how it can direct them, they can’t truly understand it.

And if they want to understand and feel it, there must be peace.

PEACE is not the end goal.  PEACE is the means to the end.

Then WHAT IS THE END GOAL? you might ask.

According to me, the end goal is to live with God again.

And to have JOY.  Because JOY is the purpose of life after all.

That’s the big picture, right?

I believe we need to work to have to have the HOLY GHOST to help us get there.

And to have the Holy Ghost, we have to have peace.

See, it's all a giant circle.  

So, since deep down we know this as parents, we try desperately to get it sometimes, right?

The answer to that “WHY?” becomes motivation for the “HOW?”

And HOW? is a tricky one.

I talked about some pretty funny measures my family went through to try to gain that peace in our home growing up.  Because I grew up in a pretty crazy home with eight siblings that was chaotic at times. 

But my parents didn’t give up.  Some little things they did:

--“Let’s start over”...classic.  Something I do with my kids all the time.  If they speak disrespectfully or aren't as kind as they could be we ask them to please start over and we dive into the conversation anew, giving them the opportunity to change how they respond.  Sometimes it takes a few tries, and leads to some very impressive eye-rolls, but in the end they get the point:  The goal is to speak with kindness in our home.

--Classical music.  My mother was the best at getting some good eye-rolls from us when she turned this on the intercom system through our house, but I'm telling you, MUSIC CHANGES THINGS, and can be an excellent tool to get more peace in our homes. (more about that HERE)

--My parents even went so far as to pull out a small Christmas tree every Sunday to try to reassemble that Christmas peacefulness

--took dressers out of our bedrooms and had us try to earn them back because clutter and disaster zones don't mix very well with peace and tranquility in the home.

--oooooooo’m before meals ...my dad drove us crazy with this but somewhere in the middle of the getting-dinner-to-the-table chaos my Dad would sit at his chair with his arms out and close his eyes and oooooooo'm very low until all of us calmed down...or went crazy because he was driving us nuts :)  But the point is, he was going to desperate measures to get peace in that home of ours.

--My parents even went so far as to have little role-plays during Family Home Evening where two of us would impersonate two of us fighting, and someone else would impersonate the Holy Ghost.  I know, maybe not overly reverent, but the two kids role playing would fight, and the "Holy Ghost" would run away.  Then they would be kind and help each other out, and the "Holy Ghost" would stick around.  

--We had Family Testimony Meeting (which we do in our family and have now paired it with "Fasting Club" which I talked about back HERE and it's my favorite thing ever).  In my opinion, nothing can make the air as thick with love more than a Family Testimony Meeting.

--We rotated pictures of Christ in our bedrooms (more about that HERE).

--We utilized very well the "Fighting Bench" (back HERE)
  
There was not a lot of brushed hair, our house was not always clean, a lot of things failed, but those parents of mine kept trying AND THEY TAUGHT US TO RECOGNIZE HOW THE SPIRIT FEELS.

I'm forever grateful because they pulled their hair out figuring out ways for us to have Peace in our home, they brought it there.  And that peace and love that abounded in our home brought me to realize these people I was fighting and loving and learning from were my very best friends.

I went on to talk about relationships and how they alter the feeling in our homes as well.

 Relationships with our spouse, others, and ourselves.  Not being so hard on ourselves sometimes.  I won't go into detail on the relationship stories I shared because it will take forever.  But I did reiterate that sometimes we go home from something like this and we think, “great, I’m all set, I’m going to go home and change my family.”

But what we really need to change is US.


The mother’s behavior sets the mood in the home…it’s like a virus
Every mom has heard her children say or do something exactly as she does

We have to change ourselves before we can change anything else.  WE HAVE TO CHOOSE TO HAVE CHRIST IN THE CENTER OF OUR HEARTS FIRST, and then I truly believe those ripple effects will envelope everyone else in the home.

“When a woman chooses to have Christ at the center of her own heart,… she brings the Lord into the core of her home and family.”
--Anne C. Pingree

The last relationship I talked about is the all-important one with Christ.  If we don't have a relationship with Him, how can we invite him into our homes and into our lives?

My very favorite thoughts of all time about this are from Cheiko Okasaki.  This is my book copy I have all marked up from her (the book is called "Lighten Up" and it is exceptionally good..check it out HERE).
I will quote my favorite lines real quick:  

"Our spirituality will increase, I believe, not necessarily as we spend more time with Jesus, but as we let him spend more time with us, in our daily activities.  We tend to compartmentalize our lives, or divide them up, into separate little cubbyholes labeled 'family,' 'church,' 'gardening,' and so on.  I think we sometimes have the mistaken notion that religion is like a special room in our house. WE go into this room when we need to "do" religion.  After all, we cook in the kitchen, we entertain in the living room, we wash in the bathroom, we sleep in the bedroom, and we "do" religion in this spiritual room.  You know what's wrong with that view of the religious life?  It means that we can walk out of that room and close the door behind us.  It means that we have compartmentalized our lives to that religious experience is just one cubbyhole out of many.  It also means that we spend most of our time in other rooms.  And we feel guilty because we keep hearing that it should be the most important room in the house and we should spend most of our time there.  Does this sound just the tiniest bit familiar?


Instead, perhaps we should think of our spiritual lives, not as a separate room, but as the paint on the walls of all the rooms, or maybe a scent in the air that drifts through all the rooms--the way the fragrance of spaghetti sauce or baking bread has a way of drifting through all the rooms of the house, becoming part of the very air we breathe.  Our spiritual lives should be our lives, not just a separate compartment in our lives.

Let me put it another way.  Suppose the Savior comes to visit you.  You've rushed around and vacuumed the guest room, put the best sheets on the bed, even got some tulips in a vase on the dresser. Jesus looks around the room, then says, 'Oh thank you for inviting me into your home.  Please tell me about your life.'

You say, 'I will in just a minute, but something's boiling over on the stove and I need to let the cat out.'

Jesus says, 'I know a lot about cats and stoves.  I'll come with you.'

'Oh no!' you say, 'I couldn't let you do that,' and you rush out carefully closing the door behind you.

And while you're turning down the stove, the phone rings, and then Jason comes in with a scrape on his elbow, and the visiting teacher supervisor calls for your report, and then it's suppertime, and you couldn't possibly have Jesus see that you don't even have placemats for Pete's sake, and someone forgot to turn on the dishwasher so that you're eating off paper plates, and then you have to drive Lynne to her basketball game.  So by the time you get back to the room where Jesus is still patiently waiting for you, you're so tired that you can barely keep your eyes open -- let alone sit worshipfully at Jesus' feet to wait for those words of profound wisdom and spiritual power to wash over you, to make you different, to make everything else different -- and you fall asleep whispering, 'I'm sorry, I'll try to do better. I'm so sorry.'

Then it goes on to talk about the Atonement and it is so very beautiful.

She quotes Jeremiah 29:13:  “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”

"'With all our hearts.'  That means there are no pieces of our hearts He doesn’t touch or that aren’t relevant to Him."

Don’t give up!!
“His hand is stretched out still.” (my favorite scripture repeated over and over again in Isaiah)

“Oh God of second chances, here I am again.”  (One of my favorite quotes.)

I know God is there.  

I have felt His guidance and presence in my life more times than I can count.  I was ready to tell my too-close-to-my-heart-to-share-on-this-blog story of Lucy when I found out about her syndrome and the comfort that I felt from above that was almost tangible, but ran out of time.  But I do know He's there.  And He loves us.  And He wants to help us through our pain and sorrow and loneliness and worry.

If we only let Him in.

I left everyone with a challenge to start bringing the Savior into your own home right now.

WRITE DOWN INSPIRATIONS…what will you go home and change today in how you invite the Savior into your home?

“Never doubt that a small group can change the world, indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Jesus Christ is the source of that abundant peace.

The End.

We went on do other classes that all inspired me and lifted me up.
Just so grateful for how that night shifted my perspective a little bit.  And how it made me recognize how incredibly important it is to "let Him in."  

Especially if I want to be "guided" this year (my "one word" theme for the year).  Letting Him in is the only way to do that.  And I'm sure working on it.

26 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing these beautiful thoughts.

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  2. Wow, it sounds like a great conference. Thank you for sharing your talk with us. Keep up the good work. :)

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  3. While this may be very uplifting for people of your religion, I take issue with the idea that only people who "accept the Holy Ghost" (whatever that entails) can find and have peace in their lives.

    There are many athiests, agnostics, people who don't believe in the Holy Ghost...that are perfectly at peace with themselves, their families, their lives.

    So to say it's not possible unless you believe as you do - is very misleading.

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    1. I agree with you, Maria. I think that non-believers can feel and find peace in their lives. I, myself, am not LDS and I don't go to church. I do, however, believe in Jesus and find that great peace can come from Him.

      I don't agree with the fact that you are constantly negatively commenting on this blog. If it doesn't bring you joy and you can't take any thing positive away from Shawni's words, quit visiting the site.

      I just always find it perplexing when you (and a couple other frequent commenters) constatly have negative remarks. I don't agree with everything that Shawni says or dos, however I also get A LOT of inspiration and ideas from her blog. So I keep coming back to fill my empty mom bucket, because even through our differences, she inspires me.

      I just truly don't get the point of continuing to comment negatively. If there was a restaurant I visited over and over and kept getting disappointed, I would quit going to that restaurant. Common sense, right? So maybe it's time you find a blog you are more aligned with, because I think most of us are sick of your snarky comments.

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    2. Maria, due to the constant negativity, good thoughts might be lost (though I have the impression that you comment to stir things up).

      In this case I agree with you. However, if you believe in the Holy Ghost, you could argue that even an atheist invited him in - unknowingly.

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    3. I agree. I'm atheist and very at peace with myself and my life. A friend of mine has actually been posting very similar things, like "Peace can only be found with God." (I'm paraphrasing.) but a lot of things like that and it really bothers me. It bothers me almost as much as when she implies that you have to believe in God to be a good person or to know right from wrong. i don't know why it's so hard for people to understand that we can be good people without threat of going to a bad place if we don't.

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  4. Oh Shawni, thank you! We don't know each other, like many of the people who read your blog, but sometimes you are my best friend because of the way your words and pictures speak to my soul. ❤

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  5. @Green I agree with your words! This was so beautiful and spoke to my soul as well. Just what I needed to read today. Now, to work! . . . on bringing Christ more into my home! :D

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  6. Oh thank you!!! So well timed! I have been pondering this topic a lot lately. The quotes and experiences you share resonate deeply with me. I particularly love the idea that when I change myself, it changes the feeling in our home, which can change our family. Thank you for sharing!

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  7. If you are sick of my comments don't read them. I will visit this site and comment how I see fit.

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    1. But why comment at all? Everyone has an opinion, and that's great, but it doesn't mean that they have to be shared or said aloud. Just because you can comment doesn't mean you should. Plus, as someone pointed out, Shawni was speaking to a group of believers/of her own religion, so why wouldn't she share that about the Holy Ghost when it's a shared belief? You nitpicking at almost every post of Shawni's makes it hard to not read them as you suggest because you're all over her blog. I would suggest just disagreeing with her quietly in your head and just scroll by.

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  8. She was speaking to a group of believers. Why would the Holy Ghost be objectionable in that setting?

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  9. Thank you!!! I think many times I am trying to figure out ways to fix my kids, husband, systems around the house, etc. To create peace in our home. This is a great reminder that it starts with Mom. It also sounds a lot easier to work on me then to work on everyone and everything else.

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  10. This is exactly what I needed to read this morning! Thank you!

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  12. This couldn't have come at a better time! Seriously, I am so grateful to read your words. Such a good reminder that it starts with ME.. hopefully I can remain patient enough throught the eye rolls that it trickles to the others. :)
    I am one of 8 kids and I remember my father closing his eyes and singing "Love at Home" during the chaos but sometimes VERY dramatically until he had our attention. Haha! Thanks again. ❤️

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  13. And this is why I read your stuff. You are such an inspiration!! Thank you for being so uplifting on the internet!

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  14. Love this Shawni! What a delight to be able to "almost" here this beautiful lesson since I couldn't be there. So inspiring!

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  15. Thank you for this post shawni! You are such an inspiration and I can feel the Spirit as I read your words. Sometimes it feels like all my efforts to bring Christ to the center of my home is fruitless - kids act like they are being tortured and the fighting drives the Spirit away. So thanks for being "real" and reminding me that my kids are normal and that my efforts are worth it!

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  16. Shawni, I needed this post! The other day I was talking to my son about not hitting and he said "you are wasting my time" I definitely could have said "let's start over" instead of what my other response was. Love this. Love my Savior. Love Peace.

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  17. Beautiful, inspiring! Thank you for sharing!

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  18. Thank you for this post. My husband and I have five children and have been struggling to have more peace and therefore the spirit in our home. These are wonderful suggestions and thoughts. I enjoy your family and your siblings and parents. Thank you for sharing your goodness!😊

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  19. Thank you for sharing this talk with us! Even though I only"know" you through this blog, I just love you and your family and all the things you do to make the world a better place.

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  20. Oh Shawn, I love you. Thanks for posting all of this. I've been wanting to talk to you about it and now I just feel like we've had a great chat. There is not a lot of peace sometimes here at the farm, we're all so stretched. This is a good reminder that I need to have the peace inside of my heart. Thank you.

    And thank you for always being such a great example of peace and faith in God. Always, my whole life. I love you!

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  21. I LOVED this post. I need to find some positive affirmations to put up to remind myself to set the right tone. And you're right, music does wonders!

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  22. OH Shawni! Thank you for sharing these beautiful and inspiring thoughts.

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