I have been feeling the inclination and desire to share my testimony once again as I record my thoughts and favorite sections of my scripture study. Tonight I am reading a talk from our latest General Conference titled "Personal Peace: The Reward of Righteousness" by Elder Quentin L. Cook. I love General Conference so much, I love to read and re-read the inspiring words I know come from our Heavenly Father and I cannot wait until the next session in October!
A little of what is going on in the life of Katie right now: Troah has started Jiu Jitsu! It is so much fun to watch him interact with his coaches and the other kids and he is learning quickly and wants so badly to earn his first stripe. At home I made him a chore chart that we (try to) go through every day. I am amazed at the responsibility he shows when I give him the opportunity! He has been cleaning his room (even making his bed), cleaning the living room, helping me wash and put away dishes, taking laundry to the laundry room and helping me wash and switch out loads, as well as helping me mop. He has such a beautiful spirit, I am so blessed! He is also playing so well with Aria and helps her whenever he see's an opportunity to do so. Yesterday he asked me if he could play with Aria in their room, it was adorable! Of course that consisted of him giggling in his bed until she got about a foot away from him then he bombed her with socks and underwear, but who am I to argue when it brings bursts of laughter?? We also broke out the little potty to see if Aria is ready to start and Troah keeps asking if we can "potty train" Aria yet.
We have also started home school (officially)! It mostly consists of reading books together, going through letter flash cards and practicing sounds, playing Uno (he has to use spanish for all the colors and numbers), candy land, matching jake and the neverland pirates, and sequence for kids. He also did some painting the other day and I'm lining up crafts on pinterest (particularly home decor crafts he can help with ;) two birds, one stone!) so we are having a blast! We start each day with a devotional, watching a short video (we started with the Old Testament) on lds.org and talking about it, singing a song (working on "I Lived in Heaven" right now), and memorizing the Articles of Faith (he's got 1 down in two days!). I'm loving home school and he is too!
Aside from Troah's activities we are pretty much just working, unpacking, and cleaning over and over again :) Aria is a little doll baby, loves her purses, shoes, and trying to boss Troah and Cloud around. She is a great sleeper though and knows exactly when it's time for bed...she'll tell every one "night night" and take me to her crib. One night she didn't even want me to put her pajamas on her, had me lift her into her crib and when I turned back to undress her and put her pj's on she had her eyes tightly closed and her lips pursed in the "no" position...so I just left her as she was ;) pick your battles wisely right?
Alright, now that we are caught up on the family happenings I'm ready to read :) As with the last one, I'll just be recording the same as I would in my journal, so now I'll say good night! I'd love to hear any insights you had on this talk as well!
Here is a direct link for the talk if you would like to read it as well: http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/04/personal-peace-the-reward-of-righteousness?lang=eng
"Agency is essential to the plan of happiness. It allows for the love, sacrifice, personal growth, and experience necessary for our eternal progression. This agency also allows for all the pain and suffering we experience in mortality, even when caused by things we do not understand and the devastating evil choices of others."
"The apostles were told to leave peace upon the worthy houses they visited but warned that they would be 'in the midst of wolves...[and] hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.' A significant pronouncement is made in verse 34: 'Think not that I am come to send peace on earth.' It is clear that universal peace did not exist on the earth during Christ's mortal ministry, and it does not now."
"His Spirit (the Spirit of Christ), which is given to every person who comes into the world, 'shall not always strive with man.' Also, 'peace shall be taken from the earth.' Prophets have declared that peace has indeed been taken from the earth. Lucifer has not yet been bound and exercises power in this dominion."
Thought: I never thought of the difference between world peace and personal peace in relation to Christ's mission on earth. There was never meant to be world peace (as nice as that would be), but one of the main reasons we are on earth is to use our agency to DECIDE to lean on Christ and accept his sacrifice for us so we can attain a personal peace. Every adverse prompting and temptation is there to create doubt in our ability to be forgiven and healed, and therein receive a personal peace. Personal peace only comes when we fully accept Christ in our lives and it stays with us when we CONSISTENTLY do the things we know are right.
"President Joseph F. Smith taught, 'There can never come to the world that spirit of peace and love ... until mankind will receive God's truth and God's message ..., and acknowledge his power and authority which is divine.'"
"We earnestly hope and pray for universal peace, but it is as individuals and families that we achieve the kind of peace that is the promised reward of righteousness. This peace is a promised gift of the Savior's mission and atoning sacrifice."
Thought: Once again the importance of families striving to live the gospel together is brought to my attention. I know this is everywhere within the LDS church, but it seems to be a more urgent and pressing issue to me (maybe to others as well?) within the last 6 months. A daily devotional has been the most important area of our homeschool that I make sure we do first thing every morning and it really does make a difference in our home. It is through these kinds of actions that I can make the greatest contribution to peace and sharing the gospel with others, by teaching my children the correct principles and how to share it with others.
"The peace to which I am referring to is not just a temporary tranquility. It is an abiding deep happiness and spiritual contentment."
"'His peace will ease our suffering, bind up our broken hearts, blot out our hates, engender in our breasts a love of fellow men that will suffuse our souls with calm and happiness.'" -Heber J. Grant
"We all long for peace. Peace is not just safety or lack of war, violence, conflict, and contention. Peace comes from knowing that the Savior knows who we are and knows that we have faith in Him, love Him, and keep His commandments, even and especially amid life's devastating trials and tragedies."
"Remember, 'God is not the author of confusion, but [the author] of peace.'"
"'To believe in God is to know that all the rules will be fair, and that there will be wonderful surprises.'"
Thought: The "surprises" part reminded me of our wonderful lesson in Sunday school. I can't remember the scripture exactly, but in general it said when we master certain commandments we will be given more commandments "and not a few." At first glance this seems more threatening than enticing! However, we talked about how every commandment comes with a big blessing, or surprise! As we follow commandments we are blessed so much! The more commandments we are given, and follow, the more blessings our Heavenly Father rains down on us. I know with my kids when I want to give them something I usually come up with a task of some sort they need to do to earn the reward, this is so they appreciate the reward more and understand the value of it. I imagine commandments and blessings work similarly.
"What are the sources of peace? Many search for peace in worldly ways, which never have and never will succeed. Peace in not found by attaining great wealth, power, or prominence. Peace is not found in the pursuit of pleasure, entertainment, or leisure. None of these can, even when attained in abundance, create any lasting happiness or peace."
"The answer is the Savior, who is the source and author of peace. He is the 'Prince of Peace.'"
"How do we stay close to the Savior? Humbling ourselves before God, praying always, repenting of sins, entering the waters of baptism with a broken heart and contrite spirit, and becoming true disciples of Jesus Christ are profound examples of the righteousness that is rewarded by abiding peace ... Repentance and living righteously allow for peace of conscience, which is essential for contentment..."
"The church is a refuge where followers of Christ attain peace. Some young people in the world say they are spiritual but not religious. Feeling spiritual is a good first step. However, it is in the Church that we are fellowshipped, taught, and nourished by the good word of God. More importantly, it is priesthood authority in the Church that provides for sacred ordinances and covenants that bind families together and qualify each of us to return to God the Father and Jesus Christ in the celestial kingdom. These ordinances bring peace because they are covenants of the Lord."
"Temples are where many of these sacred ordinances occur and are also a source of peaceful refuge from the world ... In the celestial room, free from the turmoil of the world, she [a Hindu woman of Indian descent] dissolved in tears as she expressed the feelings of peace that overwhelmed her. She felt the Holy Ghost comforting and bearing witness of the sacred nature of the temple."
Thought: The feeling of peace I feel inside the temple is completely different than any other kind of peace. I feel the temptations of the world lifted off me when I am there, I can feel the presence of my Heavenly Father and His love and concern for me, nothing compares to the feeling of peace within the temple. Lately as I think back on my temple experiences and the feelings I have there (I wish I could elaborate more, but because of the sacred nature it must remain in the temple...if you have the opportunity to go or work to be worthy to enter the temple please do! Your life will be forever changes and your eyes will be opened to amazing truths about your spiritual nature!), I KNOW all of the teachings are true and it makes my outlook on my mortal life so simple. We are here for one purpose...to attain a body, follow Christ, and earn our places back in God's kingdom. I have this kind of view of life and the teachings in the temple shows me the whole picture...life is so different than I have always pictured it...there is no way to fully express the feeling of KNOWING why we are on earth and the reason behind everything that happens (because there IS a reason for everything!). It is inexpressible in a way you can only understand after attending the temple. :)
"The Savior is the source of true peace. Even with the trials of life, because of the Savior's Atonement and His grace, righteous living will be rewarded with personal peace. 'Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you' ... 'These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.'"
"Life up your hearts in praise of God;
Let your rejoicings never cease.
Though tribulations rage abroad,
Christ says, 'In me ye shall have peace.'"
I know from experience that true peace only comes from following the commandments, participating in church and the temple, reading scriptures and the words of our modern day prophets and apostles, and accepting Christ in my life and actively repenting and consistently trying to better myself. If anyone who reads this feels they do not have that deep abiding peace spoken of in this talk, please send me a message. I am not perfect, but I have attained this great and amazing peace, and I would be beyond happy to be able to help others find this peace for themselves. <3 font="">