Reflections on the coming new year: Peace on earth begins in the home
"It is through this accounting of my blessings that I remember all deserve to feel this way, no one deserves abuse and that all should feel safe," she said. "This helps me continue to stand up for those who can't, until the world is a place that is peaceful for all."
Popular musician Cori Connors of Farmington, often helps others ring in the Christmas season with festive performances. She has a devoted following of individuals who often gather to listen and gain a bit of peace in their own lives during an often busy season.
Connors said that going back to the "very few things I know for sure," her basic religious beliefs, also helps to center her own life.
"I am blessed to naturally believe there's a God and that he has a vested interest in us," she said. Connors recalls being glued to the TV on Sept. 11, 2001, watching men and women searching for loved ones within various hospitals. One woman interviewed said she would know her husband was OK if he was dead, but if not, she'd need to be with him.
"She was firmly planted in her center and she reminded me to go to my center. Peace is always dependably planted there," Connors said.
In all the hubbub that can accompany the holiday season, it is important that individuals find their own peace.
The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a statement in late November that points out the "spirit of Christmas" that many feel at this time of year — "a desire to give joy to others and to serve them."
It is a feeling that often lives on into the following new year, breathing life into relationships and commitments, giving many a desire to make it better than the last.
"I think it is a daily effort to try to understand each other and to do the right thing for the public, friends, family and neighbors," said Jolene Whitney, deputy director of the Utah Department of Health's bureau of emergency medical services and preparedness. She said knowing that the state has a plan to help people in a time of need brings her peace.
"At the end of the day, if I helped one person, met their needs, or made them smile, that brings peace to my heart and I can rest well, knowing that I can make a difference," Whitney said.
Clemens, too, said she finds great peace "when I know that someone needs something and I am able to help, even if it is something as simple as watching a neighbor's children, or giving an extra child a ride to school.
"Doing those things makes me feel good and that brings me peace," she said, adding that peace is better felt in calm times, but those times must also sometimes be created and then recognized.
"I try to harbor peace in our home by creating a safe place where my children can feel comfortable about themselves," Clemens said. "They know, in our home, that I won't do anything to scare or harm them. They know that I won't laugh at their ideas or make fun of their artwork. I try to shut out the world and foster a positive environment where they can learn, grow and ask me about anything."
The family of five often stops to feel the presence of another brother who died at birth more than two years ago. Clemens said such experiences happen "when it is peaceful in our home."
"We all need recharging time," she said. "We all need peace."
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