Thursday, August 28, 2014

AHG Girl Blogger is off to College - Lessons learned from AHG


From Sarah Peterson:

Dear Friends, 

This is the month that I have been dreading and looking forward to the most for the past year. In the span of three weeks I will say goodbye to my best friends as they head off to college and say hello to my new roomies and friends at the University of Northwestern. I am beyond excited but nervous as well. How did I get here today...well a lot of things, but American Heritage Girls is something that I owe a lot to.

Ten years ago mom started our AHG in our home town. Ever since the beginning I have been one of the first ones in the building before every meeting and event and the last one out after everything has been cleaned up. Has it always been fun? No. Has it been easy? No. Has it been worth it? Absolutely.

One of the words in our creed is perseverance. Ten years ago I started as an AHG member. Since then my life has not gotten any less busy. In fact, in the past two years especially, it has gotten even more hectic than I thought it would. But I stayed in AHG and I persevered. There were times that I didn't want to. My Junior and Senior years of high school I was tempted to quit AHG because I had added on being a volleyball manager, plays, basketball, choir, work and college classes. I was very busy and sometimes I really didn't feel like going to AHG meetings.

But I'm so glad I did.


In ten years God has used AHG to really shape who I am today. I want to encourage those who are thinking of starting AHG: do it. I want to challenge those that are thinking of quitting: don't. And I want to tell you why.

#1 AHG is a program that has helped me step out of my shell. I was really shy. Like, painfully shy. I hardly talked to anyone and I would NEVER start a conversation on my own. AHG forced me to talk. Literally. At meeting I would have to answer questions, read Bible verses, give badge presentations, lead songs and games and make conversation with the other girls. 
My AHG tip: If you want to get a lot out of AHG, force yourself to step out of your box. You will NEVER accomplish anything while you are comfortable.

#2 AHG is a program that gave me so many amazing opportunities. Not only did I work on badges that I normally would not have (like outdoor cooking, archery and kitchen scientist) but I also got to tour a theatre (which was where my passion for theatre probably started!), be a Junior Leader at camp (where I had to be an example for the younger girls while showing them that you can honor God, do badge work, give devotionals to the troop and honor your country while still having fun! P.S. Our group won the Spirit award that week ;) ), plan many tea parties, father/daughter dances and spa nights (which was where I learned budgeting, planning skills, how to work in a group and prioritizing), and I even got to march in parades and honor our veterans by putting flags on their graves during Memorial Day.
My AHG tip: If you want to get a lot out of AHG, grab a hold of the opportunities that God brings your way. Don't look back on them with regrets.

#3 AHG is a program that has showed me what a servant leader truly is. I was a "Leader's Daughter" from the very beginning. But that didn't mean I got any perks. In fact, it probably meant that I had to work harder. My mom and I were always the first ones in the building setting up the rooms and making sure everyone was ready and the last ones out of every meeting making sure all the girls found their parents and had a ride home. There were many, MANY late nights. It wasn't always fun. Sometimes I didn't want to do it. But you know what? I feel like I

learned initiative and how to truly be a leader. Christ didn't come to be served, but to serve. To truly be a godly leader you have to get your hands dirty. You can't just sit on the sidelines and boss others around. Christ didn't. So we should follow His example and not just sit there either. We need to get off our seat and take the first step.
My AHG tip: To get a lot out of AHG, do things first. Don't always wait to be asked to do things. Be a leader by showing others how it's done. 

#4 AHG is a program that let me use my talents. I love writing. Because of that I have written skits for Tea Parties, End of the Year Programs and other things. I have also used my learned leadership skills in a lot of ways. I have also used my love for planning things. Through AHG I have honed my gifts and developed new ones. I have learned what I like to do, what I don't like to do, what I'm good at and what I need to work on. 
My AHG tip: To get a lot out of AHG, learn what you love to do and use it. Don't hide your talents away. Take them and use them for the good of others. You will bless others and you yourself will be blessed if you do.

#5 AHG is a program that I have learned to honor God in all that I do. Setting up chairs and tables isn't glamorous. But you can honor God doing it. Washing dishes after AHG camp isn't fun. But you can show a good attitude while doing it. Having to put on a genuine smile for the girls at AHG after a really long day is hard. But you can learn to think of others first by doing it.
My AHG tip: To get a lot out of AHG, learn to honor God through all that you do and He will send you blessings in ways you never imagined.


Don't get me wrong, I was so glad I was in AHG. But I want you all to know that it isn't all fun and games. Sure, when you are younger it kind of is. But as you get older and stay in the troop longer you get more responsibility. But the thing is, looking back I see some of the best times of my life. I learned so much, I made amazing friendships, I grew closer to God and I had the time of my life!

Know that being in and getting the most out of AHG isn't easy. But really, nothing in life that matters is.  

AHG is a program that I will have my daughters in someday. I want them to experience what I did. I want them to learn to be leaders and to step out of their comfort zones. I want them to know the Creed and Oath by heart and not just know them, but practice them. I want them to have the opportunities that I have had. I want them to know that they are a daughter of the King, they are loved, they are beautiful and God can use them if they are willing. Please, put your daughters in AHG. And challenge them to stick with it. You, and your daughters, won't regret it;

even while you're taking down tables after a Tea Party :)

http://www.ahgonline.org/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TECs55-7Fk

Dearest Sarah, know that our prayers are with you as you counter the culture one person at a time.  Praying for God's hedge of protection and amazing strength to share Him always!

Until Next Time,
Patti

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Tragedy of America's Funny Man- Robin Williams



Dear Friends,

It is always a difficult time when someone you love passes from this earth.  Depending on our relationship with the deceased, the pain we feel can be intolerable, haunting and long lasting.  Sometimes the pain is so strong that we don’t know how we can go on.  We lose our “joie de vivre” our energy, our focus, we may even be so devastated that we
wish to join our loved one because our loss is so great.

As believers, our work on earth- our meaning of life, is to share the Gospel of Jesus with all those we encounter.  This sharing takes different forms dependent on the depth of relationship we have with our acquaintances.  No matter how long we have known someone, we should just exude the essence of love- the essence of Jesus.  We should exhibit a personality that is pure, encouraging, loving and full all of the other qualities found in our longstanding AHG Creed.  We should live in a way that makes others wonder what makes you different, what brings you this inner peace and consistent joy?  As Steve Taylor of Newsboys said in one of his lyrics, “Shine, make ‘em wonder what you’ve got, make ‘em wish that they were not on the outside looking in.”
 
But the reality of exhibiting and living real joy can be tough.  For many, too many, it is tougher than tough.  Mental illness in all its various forms affects people from all social demographics, from all religious backgrounds and from all cultures.  Mental illness, including depression, affects Christians.  Claiming that “true” Christians do not and should not suffer from depression places additional pain and guilt on suffering believers.

I believe it is important as believers whose work on earth is to share Jesus, that we understand what depression is and what it is not.  I pray that through the recent sudden death of Robin Williams, a comedian that made all of us smile despite his pain, that perhaps we could wake up and commit to learn more about depression so that we can minister to the wounded.

Robin Williams’ death has shocked us all.  He was just a man and men die every day.  But the loss of America’s funny man, the funny man that transcended generations with his gifted comedic style, through an apparent suicide presents a disturbing reality.  That reality is: So many of us are not who we seem to be and are living our lives behind masks that cover our hurt and our pain.  This is true of more people than we think – more than just age 60+ actors with past addiction problems, but it is also true of many young women who are in our Troops , or their parents or their grandparents. 

May the knowledge that we glean from understanding the hidden killer that is depression, be a tool in the Tool Box of Love that we use to share the love and true joy that only comes from knowing Him.  Learn more, affirm the girls in your Troop, love your kids and hubby unconditionally, and keep all families who struggle with depression in your prayers.  If you are struggling with this illness, please seek help - ignoring it is not a remedy.

I pray that Robin Williams’ wife and three kids, friends and extended family members are consoled by members of the Christian community who share the love and comfort of the  Holy Spirit during their time of intense grief. 

Until Next Time,
Patti

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Through Many Trials - by AHG Patriot Sarah Peterson



Dear Friends,

AHG Girl Blogger, Sarah Peterson tackles the subject of the usefulness of Trials in sharpening our walk with Christ.  With wisdom beyond her years, Sarah shares her thoughts and I pray you will share this important message with a special girl in your life!

Trials. Not a fun word. Not something we like going through. and sometimes we don't expect them.


This last weekend we were at Faith Baptist Bible College for their annual high school basketball tournament. I was very excited. Last year our team went down and won the whole thing! We lost four of our starters last year, so I knew that this year at the tournament would be harder.

But I didn't think it would be this hard.

The first three games were pool play to determine our ranking for the fourth game on Saturday. We lost all three pool play games. On Saturday we would play for seventh out of eight teams.

Talk about a trial.

I don't like trials. Never have. Thing is, I learned so much this basketball tournament. Not only about basketball, but also about myself, my attitude, my character and my walk with God. Trials do help us learn. Funny...God uses trials to teach us things that we may not have learned otherwise. Would I have looked at my attitude if we had won every game? Probably not, because my attitude would have been great. But instead I had to learn to love the other players on and off the court when they killed us. I had to keep my head up high for the younger girls when I really just wanted to go into the locker room and pout. I had to honor God with my thoughts when I honestly was feeling defeated. Saturday night I got home and I was tired. Mentally and emotionally. But looking back a few days later, I think that we had the best tournament yet. Yes we got crushed, but we bonded as a team. We lost together. We learned together. We encouraged each other together.

God uses trials. Why?

1) they push us out of our comfort zone. I wasn't comfortable losing. Honestly I wasn't used to it. The past few years we have only lost about six games. But losing made me think that winning isn't everything. Character is. If we won but had a horrible attitude, we might as well have lost. Wins and medals will fade, but who you are as a person never will.

2) they reveal what we need to work on. Not only did I learn tons of things that I need to work on in basketball (better passes, hustling more, having patience, etc.) but also about myself off the court. I get in to the habit of having an attitude of defeat. I feel like I have to be perfect and when I'm not I feel defeated. I learned that I can't have that attitude. If you're in a hole and life throws dirt your way, shake it off, stomp it down and step up.

3) they show us that we need to turn to God. When life is going good I get into the habit of forgetting God. I get content. Comfortable. God has to sometimes throw a trial into our lives to remind us who is truly in control. Lesson from that? Don't wait for a trial to put God first. Make Him a priority when things are going great as well as horrible.

Trials aren't fun. But you know what? If we let God have His way and if we are teachable, we come out better than before. That tournament changed me as a person and as a basketball player. So are trials bad?

No.

Not if you let them change you into more of an image of Christ. God doesn't bring trials in our lives to knock us down, but so that through Him we can learn to rise up better than before.

Well said Sarah!

Until Next Time,

Patti

 
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds 
                                                                                                                               James 1: 1-3

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Twerker, the Witch and the Wedding - the 2014 Grammys

Sounds like a parody of CS Lewis' masterpiece to you?  Me too, but unfortunately the joke was not on The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe but the Christian worldview upon which the novel was based.   And that "joke" that parody, was led by women who were raised in Christian homes and now reside in the world of Hollywood.

You guessed it, the Grammys are on my mind and my heart.  I have waited weeks to let the unrest in my soul dissipate but to no avail.  I have prayed that God take this pain from me if it is His will.  Apparently it is not, the message remains in my soul.  In obedience, I write.

Did I watch the Grammys?  I did not, but I have seen enough video clips to be thankful I did not tune in.  Do I sometimes watch these Hollywood tributes? Yes, I do.  I believe recognizing the cultural climate of our society is something I must do to be an effective leader of a ministry for girls.  And, at times, I prayerfully enter into media targeted to youth that I prefer not to have to see or hear.  I know and you know that our girls are exposed to it everyday and if they are not personally exposed, their friends, their schoolmates and their generation are sure to have heard or seen the latest assault on purity.

The Grammys - from Beyonce's inappropriate attire and moves, to Katy Perry's witchy persona being burned  at the stake while demon- like entities dance in celebration, to Queen Latifah's recent "ordination" to perform "marriages"- the whole charade seemed like a vile missile whose target was anything pure, righteous and holy.

It is tempting to close our eyes, ears and minds to the latest production the mainstream media has for us, but how can we?  We have to engage our kids and talk about God's plan while helping them build an armor of protection.   We need to know about the topics of which they have knowledge and we need to talk about them.  How do we do this?  Through consistent conversations and bringing God's relevant Word into the dialogue and God loving behaviors that we model.

As you and your daughter listen to a song, watch a TV show, or attend a concert, talk about the values that are being presented and celebrated. "How does this song depict love? What does this TV show assume about marriage? How does this artist demonstrate purity?” Only through the power of His Word and consistent prayer can any of us repel the missiles that are being produced and launched daily by much of today's media. 

Meanwhile I continue to pray for Hollywood's elite so that the love of Christ and His righteousness may bring light and joy to their lives.  I hope you will join me.

To learn great techniques on how to lead from the heart on even tough subjects like this, consider joining me at the  2014 National Leadership Conference - we have alot to talk about!

Phew!  It is done.  Thanks for listening.

Until next time,
Patti

Teach these commandments.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Deuteronomy 6:7

Friday, December 20, 2013

That Quiet Night when Mankind was Forever Changed

Dear Friends,

In just a few short days, tens of millions of people from around the world will once again celebrate the birth of the long awaited and prophesied Christ Child - the babe born of poor, unmarried parents in an animal's manger in a world filled with confusion, fear and violence.

I am always in awe of the magnificent tapestry of God's love for mankind as told by the Holy Scriptures.  The details of the Scripture are rife with symbolism and intricacies that only the Divine could weave.

Recently I came across an insight on the conception and birth of Christ that was new to me but maybe not new to you, so please bear with me as it stands repeating. 

The Christmas story, as told in Luke Chapters 1 and 2, contains the details of the birth of Christ in a consecutive order.  This is different than the other books renditions, perhaps because it better fit the storytelling style of Luke, a physician.  Luke speaks of  the role of Gabriel in announcing Mary's condition, his attempt to calm Mary's fear and dismay, and his explanation of other miraculous births, citing the pregnancy of Mary's aging barren cousin Elizabeth.   Immediately upon Gabriel's departure, Mary goes to the hills to find her cousin, Elizabeth, whose hideaway protected her from the talk of the village.  Mary needed to see for herself that the elderly Elizabeth was indeed pregnant.  And, upon seeing Mary, Elizabeth feels her baby "leap with joy" at the presence of the Messiah in Mary's womb.  Even in utero, according to Luke 1:41-44, Jesus' cousin, John the Baptist, knew Him.  Mary was just told of her condition, the babe was barely grown enough to cause a bulging belly, yet His cousin, six months formed in his mother's womb "lept with joy!"

The tapestry of Scripture unfolds in a most unusual way with the most miraculous story of the pregnancy  of Mary, followed by a trek to an unknown town with many denying the Christ child access to shelter, even before His birth.  Joseph and the laboring Mary were left with no other option then to give birth to the King of Kings in a stable.  Animals surrounded the young family and their feeding trough served as the bed for the Prince of Peace.  And despite this quiet, unheralded birth of the Savior of all mankind, the heavens took part and shone a star of a most unusual proportion to guide both the poorest of poor and the richest of rich to the Stable, if they would only follow it and believe.

Today, in world not so unlike the world of Jesus - confusion, fear and violence abound- Jesus' quiet invitation to follow Him is available to all - the poorest of the poor and the richest of the rich and all of those who are weak and heavy laden.  He loves us all and loves us enough not to force a relationship but to invite  us to a relationship with Him, so that we can understand the Father who sent Him. 

Will you accept His invitation once again?  Will you renew your relationship with Christ this Christmas season and find the peace that will only come from Him?

I rest my soul in His hands and wish you the most blessed of Christmas seasons.

With love and peace and until next time
,
Patti

Monday, December 16, 2013

Sarah's Top Ten Songs of the Season!



Dear Friends,

Well, here we are! Only 12 more days until Christmas 2013 :) I love this time of year for many reasons, but one of the top reasons is because of the music. I absolutely love Christmas songs (if it wouldn't annoy my family, I would probably play them all year long!). I wanted to put together my top 12 Christmas songs (in no particular order) to share with you all so here ya go! :)

#1 Hairy Christmas (performed by Willie Robertson and Luke Bryan)

I saw this on the CMA Country Christmas and was laughing so hard I could barely breath. This was such a fun song! The fact that Willie from Duck Dynasty sings it is just an added bonus :)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQQPVqnlXog

#2 Carol of the Bells (by Pentatonix)

This was amazing. I love acappella (when it's done right) and boy! do they do this one right!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vvkNWs7sQw

#3 O Holy Night (by Tenth Avenue North)

This is my favorite kind of Christmas song: a classic with a little bit of an added beat. I love Mike Donehey's voice and he did this song so well.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBygNgy8FKU

#4 O Come Emmanuel (by The Piano Guys)

I mean come on! The Piano Guys are amazing! This has to be my favorite version of this amazing song. It's so mysterious and serious, but in such a beautiful, breath-taking way. <3 br="">
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iO7ySn-Swwc

#5 All I Want for Christmas (by Anthem Lights)

Of course I had to put an Anthem Lights song in here somewhere! I normally don't like this song, but I must say: Anthem Lights does it very well! (I may be biased just because I love them so much...:) )
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuVoodqPevo

#6 Joseph's Lullaby (by MercyMe)

I am on the verge of tears every time I hear this song. And for those of you who know me, I'm not a crier! This song is simply amazing: A very simple tune, but an amazing message :)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7InZv8Zfs10

#7 Jingle Bell Rock (by The Newsboys)

These guys know how to have a good time! Best version of this song EVER! And believe me, I have heard many versions ;) If I ever want to get in a good mood, I play this :)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mvSZYu-1Jk

#8 O Come All Ye Faithful (by Rush of Fools)

For one: The little kid at the beginning is adorable :) But this is another example of a band singing the song right! They don't change it up to much but just enough to keep it interesting. Love this one!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYqmV8GEodQ

#9 Mary Did You Know (by CeeLo Green)

No, I normally don't like CeeLo, and yes, some things in the video aren't completely correct. But! This, I have to say, is one of the more moving videos and performances I have ever seen/heard! Amazing <3 br="">
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1DZA_TdBBI

#10 The Night Before Christmas (by Brandon Heath)

This is another one of those songs that gets me every time. I dare you to have a dry eye after you listen to it. Such a powerful song....
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTHu1PKNOLQ

#11 Do You Hear What I Hear (performed by Mary J. Blige and Jennifer Nettles)

If this isn't the most powerful rendition of the song you have ever heard, I don't know what is. They totally get into it and they hold nothing back!! (and they are basically two of the best singers ever!) I love this version :)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2uTJl6JWXQ

#12 This is Christmas (by Kutless)

Ok, I lied. I did have a reason for numbering these songs. I purposely put this one at the end because this truly tells of the true meaning of Christmas. This is why we celebrate this holiday. Christmas is nothing without Christ <3 br="">
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EYVWFZ07-U


Well, I hope you enjoyed these 12 songs! I know I loved putting this together :) As much we love this holiday because of the food, family and friends, let's remember the true meaning of Christmas.
 
As Kutless says, "What is Christmas without Christ?"

Merry Christmas and God Bless,

Sarah

Thanks Sarah for this list and may the peace of the Christ Child envelope you now and throughout the New Year!

Patti