Archive for the ‘hope’ Category

Distress Tempered With Joy

Lord, I bless thee for tempering every distress with joy; too much of the former might weigh me down, too much of the latter might puff me up; Thou art wise to give me a taste of both. ~Valley of Vision~

This is  a quote that I included in our Christmas newsletter this year.  It might give a hint as to what our last year has been like.  If our family was ever to take one of those stress tests we would in most years score in the dangerous zone.  This year even more so!  There have been so many trials,  discouragements and set backs.  Most that people do not even know about because we don’t tend to publicize them.  And sadly, most don’t care to really hear when others are struggling, it is just too uncomfortable….for them!

This last year however, has also been a year of such amazing blessings to our family!  Abundant blessings!  We tend to share those more.  People usually like hearing about those things unless they are individuals prone to jealousy rather than rejoicing with others.   This mostly one sided sharing and one sided interest gives people the wrong impression of what our life is really like.

I am so very thankful for the few who are willing to struggle with us through the hard times as well as rejoicing in the good.

One thing that I have known for  long time but has been made so very clear this past year is summed up in that quote above.  And every cloud does have a silver lining for those who are willing to look.  For each trial there is a lesson to learn, even if the lesson may not be for ourselves.  Others can learn much just by watching someone else deal with a struggle.  Each trial brings opportunities for growth in our personal lives as well as in the lives of those we touch.  Not only are individual trials tempered with that silver lining but they can also be tempered with other unrelated blessings.  God is so good to us in that manner.

Remember that God is indeed good.  He does temper the distresses with joy.  That is something to be ever thankful for!  The Lord is gracious!

I could share many examples.  I would rather hear from you.  Can you share an instance of distress tempered with joy??

Filed under Christianity, Encouragement, Give Thanks, grief, hope, Praise, Valley of Vision

Songs For Saplings

About a year or so ago a dear friend shared a CD with me.  She said that a friend of hers put these CDs together and thought that we would enjoy them.  The children LOVED it so we decided to purchase the rest of the catechism cds and have been enjoying them ever since.

The other day a very well known blogger posted about these very cds.  Challies posted about Songs for Saplings along with other music for children.  Challies wrote:

Songs for Saplings is James and Dana Dirksen from Porland, Oregon. They have recorded four albums, one of which follows an A,B,C format while the other three are questions and answers, much like a catechism. I suppose these albums will largely appeal to younger children. They are quiet and acoustic.

He is correct in his assessment of the cds. They are geared toward younger children. But they are beneficial for the entire family.  The catechism cds do appeal to older children more and more in the second and third cds.  There is a great variety in the style of music on each cd. You can even listen to excerpts on their website.

What I love about them is that the children (and us parents) learn the great truths presented in the Westminster Catechism which is derived directly from scripture. Each question and answer also contains the scripture that teaches the truth. This way your children are not only learning the doctrinal truth but the scriptures that proclaim that truth.

Songs for Saplings is a ministry of the Dirksen family and this is what they state on their website.

We create lively, fun songs that attempt to deliver the deepest of Biblical truth in a format that your children will love to listen to. We want them to understand who God is and what He has done, as well as what He wants your children to do and to be. We hope that you will benefit from these CDs and use them to help teach your children about our God and his great love for us.

With Christmas time approaching, what better gift could you give than the gift of music which teaches and proclaims the greatness of our Lord Jesus Christ?!

I am pleased to announce that I can offer you a 20% discount off of your order when you buy CDs from their website. This includes the “12-pack bulk pack” which a lot of people order for gift-giving. This does however exclude the 24 and 48 CD bulk packs, which are already heavily discounted.

All you need to do is enter the following code as you go through the checkout: mamaarcher
It’s really simple.

Hopefully you will find this really helpful as you order CDs this Christmas!

As you seek to grow your little saplings……

into strong oaks of righteousness…

Songs for Saplings can be a musical and fun tool for you and your family to use and enjoy!

that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.
(Isaiah 61:3b)

Visit SONGS FOR SAPLINGS and order your CDs today! Order some for your friends and family too! Don’t forget to enter the discount code for your 20% off!

Please leave a comment and let me know if you plan on making a purchase and what you think of their music and ministry!

Regardless of whether you order, please tweet, email, and share on Facebook so that others can take advantage of the discount offer!

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Filed under Catechism, children, Christianity, Christmas, Curriculum, Encouragement, Family, Great Gifts, Homeschooling, hope, Preschoolers, Train Up a Child, worship

My Daily Sunshine

One thing I have learned living here in Alaska is the value of the sun.  Sunshine is something that you have to learn to live without for a while.  One thing for sure is that I appreciate the sunshine more now than I ever have in my entire life.  When the sun is out I will find myself just stopping and soaking it in, like I did the other day when it was actually above 50 and sunny.  But I remember it might not last long.  April here is a hard time for me.  It seems more like November in the midwest.   Right now, it is in the 40′s, slowing melting, mostly dirty, yucky looking snow, and LOTS of brown!!  It is cloudy and gray!  It is mostly rainy and just icky out at the moment.  The thing is, the weather forecast says it is going to like this for at least another week!  I am definitely in need of some sunshine!

To add to the dreariness of the weather, I am not feeling well.  That is to be expected.  When one is feeling yucky and needing to just lounge it adds to the blahness one is already feeling.  The children are starting to feel the effects of daddy being gone.  The younger ones really do not realize that is why they feel the way they do.  But they act out at times and are grumpy, whiny, tearful, and sometimes even mean.

Life can sometimes seem to be filled with clouds.  Literally and figuratively.  One must always remember though that clouds come with a silver lining.

Even when the sun outside isn’t shining I still receive my daily dose of sunshine in different forms:

  • Knowing the great God I serve and his grace, his mercy, his love, his providence, his protection, his holiness.
  • Knowing that the literal sunshine will soon appear.
  • Knowing that after April comes May.
  • Seeing my littles dance and play in ballet shoes, high heals, and pretty little crowns.
  • Knowing that when they are down I can cuddle and comfort them.
  • Hearing from my hubby and seeing him on Skype.
  • Listening to my children play beautiful music on the piano.
  • The phone call from a friend when I needed it the most.
  • The vitamin D I can take when skies are gray.
  • The joy of new child on the way.
  • Being able to laugh with hubby who is on the other side of the world (Skype is great).
  • The knowledge that my first trimester is half way over and better feeling days are ahead.
  • Comments of encouragement from my great blog readers.
  • friends who stop by with lunch and a birthday cake
  • friends who come over when I am out and clean my house and do my laundry
  • more time in prayer
  • Hearing a little one say “mommy I love you”
  • many, many, many other things………………………………..

There are so many blessings one can miss if you are focused on the clouds rather than looking for that ribbon of silver that is woven throughout the gray.  Who knows, the sun may shine sooner than the weatherman thinks!  God IS indeed so very, very good!

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Filed under deployment, Encouragement, Family, hope, Military

Melting Expenses

I serve an amazing God! He is sovereign over all, fully of mercy, grace, and justice. He is one who acts providentially. He provides all things often times above what we can ask or imagine.  This past week during our daily devotion time we have been going over question number eleven of the Westminster Shorter Catechism and studying through the book of Esther.

Q. 11. What are God’s works of providence?
A. God’s works of providence are, his most holy, wise,and powerful preserving and governing all his creatures, and all their actions.

Westminster Confession – Chapter 5: Of Providence by Westminster Assembly

I. God the great Creator of all things does uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things, from the greatest even to the least, by His most wise and holy providence, according to His infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of His own will, to the praise of the glory of His wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy.

God has shown himself once again to be abundant in his graciousness and providence in our lives.
In two days this past week there have been expenses adding up to thousands of dollars that have just melted away. Some may chalk it up to coincidence or good luck and timing but I know what an amazing God I serve. I see his handiwork in how he orchestrates my life and am awed. To God be the glory!  All the while we are studying about his great providence, he provides us with tangible examples in our daily lives.

Let me share with you how God provided for us this past week.

  • My older children were going to be attending an event which they told us would be at a cost of $60.  This fee was waived!
  • My older girls just joined a figure skating performance competition class.  One daughter received a discount I did not expect and another was able to take her class for free due to the fact that she teaches there.  Another $60 waived.
  • My hubby’s pay raise was more than anticipated by an amount of $85.
  • My son, who has had a problem tooth for almost nine years, was in need of a root canal.  We have been putting it off because we just could not afford it.  We do have insurance but they did not have a preferred provider who works with our insurance that they would refer us to and with the dental costs being higher here in Alaska our portion was a very large amount.  My husband decided to take him in to the military clinic just to see if his case would be deemed an “emergency” case and could be treated there.  This was just a quick look over kind of appointment on a walk in basis that he was hoping to be able to get him in to be seen.  When he arrived they said they had an appointment that had been canceled and would look him over.  They went ahead and did the root canal then and there.  He has an appointment next week for the crown.  A total cost to us of $0!  This saved us close to $2000!

The Lord knows our earthly needs.  He knows our desires.  He providentially provides both when in his plan!  His plan for us is best.  The creator of our life knows what is truly needed and even provides that which is not needed but desired.  Praise be to God!

More importantly than our earthly needs and desires, He knows our eternal needs!  He provides that for his children!  Praise be to God!  In fact, that is his priority.  I am thankful that even when I miss seeing his hand at work, when it seems that earthly needs are not met, that I can trust in the fact that he has a plan and is working it out.  I can trust that he has eternal benefit at mind first and foremost.  He causes me to be amazed all the more and I pray that his glory is seen when at work in my life!

Filed under Christianity, Encouragement, Family, financial, Give Thanks, Great Gifts, hope, Praise, worship

Operation Denali

Saturday night my hubby and I attended the annual banquet for the Society of American Military Engineers.  It was a good evening out.  Hubby and I were all dressed up and had an evening out together.  The key note speaker at the banquet was the best speaker we have ever heard at one of these events.  I want to share a bit with you.

The speaker was Marc Hoffmeister. Marc is an US Army officer and 1992 West Point graduate currently stationed at Elmendorf AFB, AK.  Marc was wounded by a roadside bomb while serving on a Military Transition Team as an embedded trainer with the Iraqi Army.   He shared with us a bit about trying to deal with the devastation of his injuries and how his wife Gayle challenged him to overcome.  He told us that she announced one day that she was going to climb Denali!  Realizing that she was determined and he could not let her go alone, he determined to take up the challenge and Operation Denali was born.

Operation Denali Mission Statement:

Enable four Warriors wounded in the Global War on Terrorism to overcome devastating combat injuries and successfully summit 20,320 ft Denali, the highest mountain in North America, symbolizing the strength of our Nation and those who defend it.

He shared with us a very inspiring story. He spoke of not only the challenges of the climb in which only 40-60% of those who attempt actually summit. Denali is a dangerous mountain in which people loose their lives each year attempting to summit.  Imagining the challenges of attempting such a big climb is intimidating but image doing so without all of your limbs.  Yes, these wounded warriors climbed and summitted the mountain with prosthetic limbs.  He told stories of how they even passed other teams on the mountain.  That was rather encouraging for them, not so much so for the other fully bodied teams.  Why even try to attempt such a feat?  Reaching the summit was the goal but more importantly than actually reaching the summit were the following objectives.  Even for the few who did not actually summit, their objectives were reached.

1.  To raise awareness for the needs of severely injured service men and women
2.  To  work together to overcome our physical limitations and achieve a common goal made to seem insurmountable by the impact of our injuries on our lives.
3.  To demonstrate by performance and example that no obstacle is so great that the human spirit cannot overcome it

Let me give you a little bit of perspective on this challenge.  A little lesson on Denali.  Denali meaning the High One or the Great One is the Native word for the mountain that outsiders refer to as Mount McKinley. Denali, being North America’s highest peak, rises to an elevation of 20,320 feet amidst a sea of glaciers and other peaks that compose the Alaska Range.  Here is a photo I took from Anchorage, several hundred miles away.


For a closer look and updated photos check out the webcam from Denali National Park & Preserve. Their view is from Wonder Lake.

Please make sure to do your part in supporting our veterans.  They give up so much for the freedoms we all enjoy!  I ask that you share this story and encourage others!

To read more on this inspiring story visit Operation Denali! You can also see a slide show of the expedition. You can read their expedition journal too!

Take some time to learn more about Operation Denali and be sure to leave me a comment too!

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Filed under Alaska, Encouragement, hope, Military, Nature, News, politics, travel, Wednesday Heroes

Do You Fear?

I find that fear is a constant battle for me.  I tend to worry about so many things that I shouldn’t.  I fully acknowledge that this is a major weakness.  It is one that can only be overcome by the working of the Lord in my life.  I need to continually seek him for healing from fear.  I came across a quote today that slapped me upside the head!  It is something I already knew but when you come face to face with the bare bones of the issue it often makes your head spin.

Our fears are grounded in either a failure to believe in God’s strength or a failure to believe His gospel. — RC Sproul Jr

Lord,

I praise you Lord, Creator of all, You are God!  Mold me into your image, may I be surrendered, softened, and easy to mold.  Cleanse me, heal me, create in me a clean heart, one that is absent of fear and clings to you.  I know that worry can not add a single day so let me not waste the ones you have given.  Draw me closer to you that I may never fail to believe and rely upon you.  Remove my self-reliant tendencies.  May you be glorified in my life!

Amen

Filed under Christianity, Encouragement, hope, Prayer, Quotes, worship
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