Sunday, May 5, 2019

Hearing Peace

We would do well to slow down a little and focus on the significant and truly see the things that matter most. 
                                      --Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Don't you give up. Don't you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead. It will be all right in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come.                                         --Jeffrey R. Holland

I have been thinking a lot about peace this year. This summer I will help direct a ranch for teenage girls and Peace will be our theme for two weeks. I know the world is much more competitive than it was when I was a teenager. And when my parents applied for college, they just sent in their application and were accepted. Not anymore. We all know that some of us get way more screen time than being outside with the sky and trees or frankly, conversing with a human soul. Many young people and even some of us olders feel like we can never be enough. Yet, in my years of exploring how to find serenity, real true peace, I know it is possible and attainable. 

Hearing the peace in the early dawn in Qatar...
How do all of us find "the missing pieces" in our puzzle to find peace? Is it possible for peace to stand on our shoulders, like a perched bluebird all the time? Can we always draw from its well? In the ripples, waves, and even tempests of our lives, can we feel serenity and peace or refind it? There will always be the storms, but the dawn will be on  the horizon. The sun will come out again. 

Since we will be moving from Doha before the summer where we have been expats for five years, I have had to remember and practice some of the things I have outlined below. Change, even for an older, is hard--especially to leave a place where you have loved deeply and the branches have been spread out widely. When I told my dear Muslim next door neighbor and friend, she said, "Our God will never guide us where we are not supposed to go. We both have faith in that."

Peace is not elusive. It does not capriciously flit and flutter around us. Peace can cling to us, and if it momentarily flies away, we can know how to call it back. 

Our ability to retrieve peace is always there.

       Books and Reading

Turning the pages of a book brings solace and connection to both the reader and the listener.

Matt reading to a friend and his son

"Novels and stories are renderings of life; they cannot only keep us company, but admonish us, point us in new directions, or give us the courage to stay a given course. They can offer us kinsmen, kinswomen, comrades, advisors--offer us other eyes through which we might see. ...Characters can be cautionary figures...who give us pause and help us in the private moments when we try to find our own bearings."--Dr. Robert Coles 

Love between grandparents brings peace to children. Love in a family brings peace--learning to see weaknesses as small, not looming, and loving big. Feeling secure in a relationship, and not questioning if you are accepted for who you are or not. Jonathan and my father who he shares the same middle name. Those embraces, now that my father is gone, mean so much to all of us. The memories bring peace.

In Iceland--knowing your heritage and where you came from helps children and all of us feel more secure. My kids are definitely proud to be Vikings...

Sharing a story and a laugh--Joseph with his uncle
"I think we chronically underestimate the wisdom that resides in children."--Dr. Robert Coles 
And I would add that we can never measure the bonds of family that awaken our compassion and sensitivities. Peter and his Grandpa Shumway who was blinded six weeks after D-Day who lived with us for about seven years. Grandpa always made every grandchild feel like they were the favorite.


One of the most important things we can give is to reach out to those who are different than us--who are older, who believe differently than us, who come from different cultures. It enlarges our hearts and gives a connection that can be felt around the world. 

Never underestimate the power of showing love, acceptance, and understanding...

About 20 years ago, trying to teach "the peacefulness" on a river...

If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.              --Rachel Carson

The magic and wonder of insects and animals.

If I had influence with the good fairy I would ask that her gift to each child be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life.        --Rachel Carson

Taking the time to be in nature enhances our senses and reminds us who we are...

Elias taking it all in...


Steve, our friend, painting en plein air on the bluffs of the Mississippi River in Missouri, USA
Art brings perspective and the ability to see the world's beauty in its grandness and intricate details. To paint and explore the image in our head brings peace.
In the Tetons drawing and sketching--hearing the inner peace.
Taking time to make things with your hands triggers a sense of contentment, focus--giving all to the beauty that is emerging in front of you...
I love to see the happiness and confidence when people create--especially when they don't expect the rush of joy that it brings.

--As a baby, music would stop whatever thoughts I was having. If I was worried, it would stop me worrying. If I was crying, it would stop me crying. Music was a healing thing for me." --Andrea Bocelli

"It really matters what you listen to. . . . Select music that will strengthen your spirit."  --Russel M. Nelson

"Where words fail, music speaks." --Hans Christian Anderson

For some reason, a fire in the backyard, in the fireplace, or even a candle at the table always spoke to my children--especially my boys. A little music even makes it better...

Being an adult learner of the cello has brought me incredible peace...

Taking a pause
Remembering to take a break...

Listening to the rush of an Icelandic waterfall

Experiencing the peacefulness of the river...


Keeping up with old friendships...

Taking time for friendships, being willing to be vulnerable and share who you are, brings peace.
                                                                 Serving Others

Meeting the famous Ghanhim al Muftahi n the Villagio Mall in Qatar--showing us all what we can do to serve and be better.

Elias and I teaching art at a school for disabilities. Some of my most favorite moments in Doha...
One of the art blogs I have written about teaching art to young children and adults who have disabilities...



  1. Absolutely---beautiful! Made me cry :)

  2. Lots of sweet, peaceful memories of the past and recent past! Fun walk down memory lane with you, Maryan!

  3. Oh, Maryan! This was just beautiful and encouraging. I will be referencing it for moments when I need peace. Perhaps Spokane might be considered as a potential landing place? It has several hospitals, a medical school, a strong art community, beautiful trees, lakes, and mountains, and five friends who love you! ; )